October 8 , 2009
County Executive Announces Healthy Nassau School Wellness Coalition - "Healthy School Programs for Healthier Kids"
Mineola, NY - Nassau County Executive, as part of his Healthy Nassau initiative to make the County the healthiest county in the nation, held his Healthy Nassau-School Wellness Coalition's workshop today at Adelphi University. This partnership was established as part of Nassau County Executive's Healthy Nassau Initiative to improve wellness programs for children in Nassau County schools. Nassau County Department of Health has teamed up with Nassau BOCES and Adelphi University to provide resources and support for school districts' efforts to create and implement improved nutrition, physical activity policies and programs.
The Healthy Nassau- School Wellness Coalition whose initial focus is to support school districts in reevaluating or forming local wellness policies mandated by the WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. School districts who participate in the Coalition receive assistance in accessing resources, identifying grant money for program implementation, performing school assessments and formal recognition. The Coalition's goal is to establish strategies to help schools succeed in creating a sustainable, healthy environment for the children of Nassau County.
"Two years ago I announced my Healthy Nassau Initiative, a comprehensive and far-reaching initiative to achieve my goal to be the healthiest county in the nation. Partnerships have been critical to the success of Healthy Nassau and today we announce a significant new partnership that I believe will positively impact a most critical piece of our population - our children. This is the first workshop among what I hope and expect will be many more as we build out this important initiative," said the County Executive.
"There is a nationwide increase in children's overweight and obesity which is also reflected in Nassau County. Poor nutrition and decreased fitness are risk factors for chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Health Department is committed to addressing these issues in childhood," according to Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Health.
Robert J. Hanna, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent Nassau BOCES believes that "a consolidated effort to advance healthy options for our schools will foster shared wellness programs and efficiency." Dean Jane Ashdown, Ph.D. from Adelphi University Ruth S. Ammon School of Education sees the partnership as a "natural fit between schools, public health and education."
Workshop attendees had the opportunity to hear success stories from schools that have successfully adopted wellness policies. Schools were given the tools to complete the School Health Index at their school. The School Health Index was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with school administrators, parents and school health experts for the purpose of:
- Enabling schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs.
- Enabling schools to develop an action plan for improving school health.
- Engaging teachers, parents, students and the community in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and better health.