Nurse Lori Halsey: Hi, Brandy. How are you?
Scott: This is the nurse’s office at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri. Nurse Lori Halsey is seeing a troubling trend.
Nurse Halsey: We see type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, people with joint pains, arthritis, stress, anxiety, depression from being above a healthy weight.
Scott: Two years ago, Nurse Halsey helped with a district-wide effort, testing student’s body fat. At her school alone, 40% of the students were classified as obese.
Nurse Halsey: It’s very concerning to see that they’re dealing with adult illnesses at such a young age, and you just worry about where they’re going to be in the future.
Superintendent Jim Hinson: We have a major issue with kids because of what they’re eating and what they’re not eating, the lack of exercise. This is a crisis in our country.
Scott: A crisis that school Superintendent Jim Hinson saw affected schools through attendance, illness and lower test scores. So, he decided to make some changes. Now every student from kindergarten to graduation must attend nutrition classes.
Teacher: How many of you use a measuring cup?
At the gym, they now track and record student fitness levels. And in the cafeteria, chicken that was fried is now baked. And salads are always available.
Nurse Halsey: Taffee, how are you today?
Taffee Fuiava: I don’t feel so well. I didn’t have a good night’s sleep last night either.
Scott: Senior Taffee Fuiava suffers from the same weight-induced asthma that killed her father.
Taffee: I think surely, but slowly, the message will hit home and kids will start eating healthier. It’s a team thing. You can’t do it yourself. It’s just so easy to fall back.
Scott: And she is off to a good start, losing nine pounds so far.
Nurse Halsey: If kids can’t be healthy, they can’t be successful. So, if we give them the tools they need and the education, they can take it home.
Superintendent Hinson: For the first time in history, the life expectancy of our kids is less than ours. That has to change.
Scott: Change is taking place here. At the district’s grade school, test scores are up and asthma rates are down. And at Truman High, obesity rates have dropped 10% over the last two years.
- What were some of the symptoms Nurse Halsey observed in her students at Truman HS?
- Why did the nurse decide to start testing students for body fat?
- What effect was obesity having on academic achievement?
- How is the program doing at this point?