Kids' Health: Can "Get Smart" Schools and "Let's Move" Reverse the Childhood Obesity Trend?

April 29 2011, 9:18 AM

Experts say the healthier children are, the more likely they are to perform well at school and in life in general. Organizers behind Get Smart Schools—a charter school group with plans to build in Denver—agree and are in search of someone to lead their innovative institution, which will focus on physical activity and nutritious food, as well as provide medical, dental, vision, and mental health services to its mostly low-income students (Ed News Colorado). The school, slated to open in fall 2013, will also make extra efforts to involve parents so that healthy behaviors and habits might be adopted inside unlikely households where obesity is on the rise, even in "lean" Colorado.

One Chicago school with a similar focus is showing some positive outcomes from such an approach, including lower body mass indexes in students and higher attendance rates compared to those at nearby public schools, where obesity and absences are commonplace. But some public institutions are getting a dose of healthfulness as well thanks to programs like First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move, which emphasizes healthy eating and living among children. A recent cooking contest at the Winograd K-8 school in Greeley had kids proving to each other that whole grains, leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables really can taste good (Denver Post). They even convinced the kindergartners.