This off-reservation boarding school serves over 600 students in grades 4-12; approximately 85% of the students reside in campus dormitories. After having documented significant improvement on a number of outcomes during a previous High Risk Youth Prevention demonstration grant, the site submitted a Therapeutic Residential Model proposal, requesting funding to continue successful elements developed under the demonstration grant and to expand mental health services. The site received Therapeutic Residential Model funding for school year 2001-2002. Once funds were received, the site chose to shift Therapeutic Residential Model funds to an intensive academic enhancement effort. While not in compliance with the Therapeutic Residential Model initiative and therefore not funded in subsequent years, this site created the opportunity to enhance the research design by providing a naturally occurring placebo condition at a site with extensive cross-sectional data baselines that addressed issues related to current federal educational policies.
Childhood physical inactivity and obesity are serious public health threats. Socioecological approaches to addressing these threats have been proposed. The school is a critical environment for promoting children's health and provides the opportunity to explore the impact of a socioecological approach.
Thirty percent of children in British Columbia, Canada, are overweight or obese, and 50% of youths are not physically active enough to yield health benefits.
Action Schools! BC, a socioecological model, was developed to create 1) an elementary school environment where students are provided with more opportunities to make healthy choices and 2) a supportive community and provincial environment to facilitate change at the school and individual levels.
The environment in British Columbia for school- and provincial-level action on health behaviors improved. Focus group and project tracking results indicated that the Action Schools! BC model enhanced the conceptual use of knowledge and was an influencing factor. Political will and public interest were also cited as influential factors.
The Action Schools! BC model required substantial and demanding changes in the approach of the researchers, policy makers, and support team toward health promotion. Despite challenges, Action Schools! BC provides a good example of how to enhance knowledge exchange and multilevel intersectoral action in chronic disease prevention.
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Significant health problems encountered in adulthood often have their roots in health behaviours initiated during adolescence. In order to reverse this trend, school and health personnel, as well as parents and other community members working with high school students, need to be aware of the health-related beliefs and choices that guide the behaviours of teenagers. Although a wide variety of research has been conducted on this topic among urban adolescents, less is known about the health beliefs and behaviors of adolescents residing in rural areas, particularly in Canada. In general, rural Canadians are less healthy than their urban counterparts. Building on the knowledge and understanding of their own community, key stakeholders were invited to engage in the design and implementation of a participatory action research project aimed at understanding and improving the health of rural adolescents.
A group of parents, teachers, students, school administrators and public health nurses engaged in a participatory action research project to better understand determinants of the health of rural adolescents at a high school in Western Canada. Group members developed and administered a health survey to 288 students from a small rural high school, in an effort to identify areas of concern and interest regarding health practices and beliefs of rural adolescents, and to take action on these identified concerns.
Results indicated some interesting but potentially worrying trends in this population. For example, while frequent involvement in a physical activity was noted by 75.9% of participants, close to half of the females (48%) described their body image as 'a little overweight' or 'definitely overweight', and approximately 25.8% of respondents noted that they skipped meals most of the time. Differences between the genders were apparent in several categories. For example, more girls smoked (16.2%) than boys (12.3%), and more males (55.0%) than females (41%) had tried illegal drugs. Participants indicated awareness of other health-compromising behaviours, including unsafe driving habits and high stress levels, and acknowledged several steps they wanted to take to improve their health, as well as the barriers to taking those steps. Students identified improved nutrition, stress reduction, and increased levels of physical activity as particular important health goals. Students also recommended ways in which information and support could be provided within the school environment to enable them to achieve their health-related goals. Several activities developed in collaboration with students have incorporated the recommendations, and have spawned other activities in response to the ongoing identification of new concerns.
The process of including the rural community in the identification of health assets and needs from the perspective of students -- as well as the planning and implementation of appropriate strategies to address those needs -- demonstrates the strengths inherent within a small rural population. Community members' awareness of the need to create a healthy environment for youth is reflected in their willingness to participate in activities leading to improved health. Greater awareness of the health needs of rural adolescents, and of the influence of gender in some aspects of health behaviors, will help researchers to explore ways in which the unique culture of rural communities can be harnessed to help shape health-focused interventions.
The purpose of this research was to determine whether modifying school start time schedules can be used to reduce children's exposure to traffic on their morning walks to school.
We use models of pedestrian and motor vehicle commuting to estimate the frequency of encounters between child pedestrians and motor vehicles at intersections throughout the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. We use a simple heuristic to identify the school-specific start times that would most reduce the local frequency of encounters between motor vehicles and pedestrians.
Our analysis suggests that it may be possible to achieve an almost 15 percent reduction in the total number of encounters between child pedestrians and motor vehicles during the morning commute by staggering school start times such that the periods of high pedestrian activity are temporally staggered from periods of high motor vehicle activity. Our analysis suggests that small changes in school start times could be sufficient to see noteworthy reductions in pedestrian exposure to traffic.
Changing school times may be an effective, inexpensive, and practical tool for reducing child pedestrian injuries in urban environments. Enhanced transportation models and community-based interventions are natural next steps for exploring the use of school-specific scheduling to reduce the risk of child pedestrian injury. Further research is required to validate our models before this analysis should be used by policy makers.
Canuck Place Children's Hospice, a family-centered pediatric hospice in Vancouver, Canada, provides family support and respite, pain and symptom management, and end-of-life care. One of the goals of pediatric hospice palliative care is to create an environment that supports a normal way of life and enhances quality of life. At Canuck Place, a unique school program for children with progressive life-threatening illnesses has been set up to meet this goal. This article describes the Canuck Place educational program, gives insights into the importance and challenges of providing a complete school experience, and discusses the expanded role of the teacher in the pediatric hospice setting.
School food in many countries has become the object of change and innovation processes, not only in relation to policies for healthier eating but also in relation to policies for more sustainable food consumption and procurement. The purpose of this study was to examine the possible influence that organic food sourcing policies in Danish school meal systems may have on the development of healthier school food environments.
The study was a cross-sectional analysis undertaken among 179 school food coordinators (SFCs) through a web-based questionnaire (WBQ) in a sample of Danish public primary schools. The 'organic' schools were compared to 'non-organic' schools. The questionnaire explored the attitudes, intentions/policies and actions in relation to organic and healthy foods served in the schools.
Data indicates that 20 'organic' schools were associated with the indicators of healthier school environments, including adopting a Food and Nutrition Policy (FNP) in the school (p = .032), recommending children to eat healthily (p = .004).
The study suggests that organic food policies in schools may have potential to support a healthier school food environment.
The aims were to find out if schools' sweet-selling was associated with pupils' sweet consumption, and whether the school's guideline about leaving the school area was associated with pupils' tobacco and sweet consumption.
Two independently collected datasets from all Finnish upper secondary schools (N = 988) were linked together. The first dataset on schools' sweet-selling (yes/no) and guideline about leaving school area (yes/no) was collected via school principals in 2007 using an Internet questionnaire with a response rate of 49%, n = 480. The second dataset on pupils' self-reported: weekly school-time (0, never; 1, less than once; 2, 1-2 times; 3, 3-5 times), overall sweet consumption frequencies (1, never; 2, 1-2 times; 3, 3-5 times; 4, 6-7 times) and smoking and snuff-using frequencies (1, never; 2, every now and then; 3 = every day) was collected in 2006-2007 in the School Health Promotion Study from pupils. An average was calculated for the school-level with a response rate 80%, n = 790. The total response rate of the linked final data was 42%, n = 414. Mean values of self-reported sweet and tobacco consumption frequencies between sweet-selling and non-sweet-selling schools and between schools with different guidelines were compared using Mann-Whitney test.
Pupils in sweet-selling schools and in schools without a guideline about leaving the school area, more frequently used sweet products and tobacco products than their peers in other schools.
Schools may need help in building permanent guidelines to stop sweet-selling in school and to prevent leaving the school area to decrease pupils' sweet consumption and smoking.
The nature and extent of bullying among school children is discussed, and recent attention to the phenomenon by researchers, the media, and policy makers is noted. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is a comprehensive, school-wide program that was designed to reduce bullying and achieve better peer relations among students in elementary, middle, and junior high school grades. Several large-scale studies from Norway are reviewed, which provide compelling evidence of the program's effectiveness in Norwegian schools. Studies that have evaluated the OBPP in diverse settings in the United States have not been uniformly consistent, but they have shown that the OBPP has had a positive impact on students' self-reported involvement in bullying and antisocial behavior. Efforts to disseminate the OBPP in Norway and the United States are discussed.