Health Initiative in Chicago Schools

To improve the health and wellness of students in Chicago Public Schools, city and school officials have created the Healthy CPS Action Plan. The plan outlines specific strategies to help meet students enhance their health.

The school system will:

•Work with the city’s park district to provide increased space for physical activity to 150,000 students.

•Double the number of school-based gardens, increasing student access to fresh foods and providing new opportunities for hands-on science education.

•Develop a standardized curriculum for physical education across all grade levels.

•Expand access to free oral health exams, dental cleanings and sealants for all high school students, building off a program already in place for elementary school students.

•Ensure that all students receive a free vision screening and that students who fail their screenings have access to a local optometrist and free eyeglasses.

“Ensuring that our students receive nutrition education and have opportunities for physical activity can influence a lifetime of healthy choices,” says Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “But just as important is the impact that good health and nutrition have on academic achievement. Children who exercise and have nutritious diets are better able to concentrate and perform well in the classroom. 

The unveiling of the Healthy CPS Action Plan coincides with the release of a report by the city’s public health department on the prevalence of obesity among students in Chicago Public Schools. 

The department examined the physical exam records of 88,000 students enrolled in kindergarten, sixth grade and 9th grade in 2010-11 and found that 25 percent of those students were considered obese.

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