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A Closer Look at Health in School

Children can’t learn when they’re hungry or sick, or absent from school. Ensuring kids are healthy enough—physically and emotionally—to learn is as important as the education they receive. Breakfast and lunch programs help kids get nutritious meals throughout the day. School immunization requirements ensure kids are safe from infectious diseases. School nurses provide timely health care to kids when they need it.

Children and teens spend more time in school than anywhere else except home, so schools present significant opportunities for improving health, particularly for vulnerable and low-income kids. Conditions and habits that affect health behaviors and decisions across the lifespan begin in early childhood education and continue into high school and beyond.

Law and policy can support strategies and programs that are essential to advancing health in school, including:

  • Providing nutritious meals.
  • Preventive dental care.
  • Immunizations.
  • Expanded health services through school nurses.
  • Identifying mental and behavioral health needs.
  • Addressing concussions in youth sports.

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