Yesterday I had the honor of giving the keynote address to the Healthy Schools Summit at the (beautiful!) WKU conference center in Bowling Green. Organized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (http://www.healthiergeneration.org/about.aspx), the Kentucky Department of Education and regional public health departments, the Summit focused on how schools affect, and can do more to improve, all aspects of kids’ health. A great group of people attended — principals, teachers (health, PE and many other subjects), nurses, public health advocates and workers, and university folk.
My talk was based on the presentation I made at the Imagine Solutions conference last month, which you can find elsewhere on this Facebook page. Better for me than my talking, though, was my learning: Jacy Wooley and Melissa McDonald of the Alliance, and Jamie Sparks of KDE, helped me understand the many wellness and nutrition programs and resources that have been created over the past few years (including in response to the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” Campaign, state initiatives here and elsewhere, and efforts by national philanthropies and businesses). I’m embarrassed to say that I was surprised by the quality and abundance of good infrastructure and tools.
The challenge for local schools systems appears to be (a) to make student health a priority, and (b) to push this priority into the school day a midst the many other competing demands. I’m so thankful that I got a big dose of learning to help me be constructive in this work.