The Best of Our Knowledge # 860

Public schools in the U.S. are under orders to adopt nutrition and
exercise goals this school year. And a federal law to support this is
inspiring the creation of school-based health centers. Current
estimates indicate that at least 10-million American children are not
covered by health insurance. This leaves them at greater risk of
preventable illnesses. But health advocates are working to change
that. In many communities across the country, health centers are
starting to open where children spend the most school. To
find out more about this growing trend, TBOOK starts on the West coast.
Shia Levitt reports from Santa Rosa, California. (4:25)

You cannot listen, or watch, or read the news these days without
hearing about the childhood obesity problem. Ironically, there are as
many overweight young people as there are children with no health
insurance, as we heard about in our first story today. Health and
education officials, in fact, describe obesity as an extremely critical
emergency. We've featured stories about the problems of overweight
children in previous programs during recent years. Over 31-million
dollars in grants have already been awarded to dozens of school
districts as part of a joint effort by the U.S. Departments of Education
and Health and Human Services to promote healthy childhood
development. This is helping schools across the nation to begin
implementing programs to address the obesity challenge. In New
York and New England, it's hoped fitness lessons' will allow children
to enjoy healthier and longer lives.
Dave Lucas reports from New York. (4:43)

As schools, communities, and local governments struggle to combat
rising levels of obesity, type-2 diabetes, and related health problems
among children and teenagers, some have come to increasingly rely
on health education centers. These publicly and privately funded
non-profit organizations work to educate students and teachers about
the body, nutrition, physical and mental health. Health Education
Centers can be especially important because public schools often lack
the resources and expertise to develop robust health oriented curricula
on their own. TBOOK visits the heartland, Indiana.
Jeremy Shere reports from Indiana. (5:17)

Since this week's show has focused on serious health education
issues, we wanted to close with something a little on the lighter
side of the discussion. We thought it might be fun to see how
listeners remember their school nurse. School Nurse Day is part
of School Nurse Week, which is recognized each year in May.
School Nurse Day has been set aside each year since 1972, to
honor school nurses in hopes of fostering a better understanding
of their role in the educational setting. Our guest essayist humorously remembers her own school nurse, and her remarkable cures.
Shelley Fraser Mickle comments. (2:20)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website mentioned at the
conclusion of the above essay for listeners interested in finding
out more details on School Nurse Day from the National
Association of School Nurses is:

Shelley Mickle is a successful author of three highly acclaimed novels,
a frequent contributor to public radio, and lives on a farm in Florida
with her horses and dog. This essay was originally recorded for the
program, Recess , from the University of Florida. Mickle's website is:**