An Entry Point on the Whole Health Learning Continuum
This semester at Lakeside Middle School in Millville, NJ students and faculty will participate in one of the first extended programs to offer a curriculum with multiple wellness programs, starting with mindfulness, then food and nutrition, fitness and nature learning. The program kicked off in mid-December with an engaging introduction to mindful practices provided by the highly respected Holistic Life Foundation of Baltimore. This is our first effort to support a local school, in this case, one taking its 6ththrough 8thgraders on to first steps on the whole health learning continuum. The program is produced by the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, whose essential role illustrates how partnerships with public agencies outside the school infrastructure may help schools adopt gardens, green spaces, and other wellness programs they otherwise can’t afford. Click in Here.
Whole Health Learning and SEL – Companion movements?
A November visit with New Jersey’s social and emotional learning leadership community– the new SEL4NJ — reinforced the emerging possibility that the school climate and relationship improvement goals of SEL may well be supported by the collaborative, hands on and social learning inherent in school wellness programs. New Jersey is now one of 14 states that have formalized their SEL-focused resources and talents to become part of a national alliance of such state: SEL4US. The connection to long term health improvement can use some clarity, which we hope to make part of a research agenda this year. Click in Here.
Along the Continuum
WITS now in DC: A November event at Tyler Elementary School in Washington marked the new partnership between Wellness in the Schools and FoodPrints, which since 2009 has taught gardening, nutrition and cooking classes to Washington DC students using an academic approach in the classroom. As part of a USDA grant WITS will help develop and execute recipes in 10 DCPS cafeterias. WITS co-founders Nancy Easton and executive chef Bill Telepan were joined by Chef Jose Andres, the world’s most indefatigable advocate for ensuring everyone has access to “a simple plate of food,” along with FoodPoints’ Jenn Mampara and DCPS’s director of Food and Nutrition Services Rob Jaber. WITS works with schools in New York City, New Jersey, southern California and Florida (and we hope in Millville, NJ this semester!)
A Point of (Whole) Light: We are humbled to be selected #4 in a 2018 Top Ten list of activities advancing integrative health. The annual Coming of the Light listing by The Integrator, the leading voice for integrative health, is now in its 13th year, published by an early friend of the project, John Weeks. WholeHealthED is joined by three other initiatives that reinforce the movement of integrative medicine and health beyond the clinic and research enterprise into community settings:
- The George Wellness Center at the downtown YMCA in Minneapolis. The George Family Foundation has been an essential philanthropic force supporting incorporation of integrative medicine more deeply into conventional care.
- David Eisenberg, MD’s Teaching Kitchens Collaborative at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s this year presented ten years research from leading US academic institutions with the data to show doctors, insurers and healthcare institutions that it way past time to bring food and nutrition education to med school. In 1992 Eisenberg first reported for NIH the vast consumer use of “alternative” therapies.
- Rise of the Creative Arts Therapies and Social Prescribing– affirms the movement at NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to begin evaluating the affects on health of many non-clinical treatments, including time in nature, prescribed veggies, the arts and other new forms of social prescribing.
What’s “The Best Day Ever?” According to kindergartners in northern Vermont, it is the one-day-a week they spend entirely outside — every week of the school year (in Vermont). The documentary released earlier this year captures the best-day spirit, based on a set of written case studies of Forest Day programs at three Vermont elementary schools. Find the trailer from Antioch University New England here at Forest Days in Vermont Kindergartens: Then arrange for a viewing at your school.
Why This is Worth Doing — Obesity intransigent
Although it can be demoralizing, it is essential to visit current research on the state of the health of Americans, notably the youngest among us. This from The State of Obesity of October 2018. Offered without comment.
Except to point to this parallel research; speaking of overweight and obese young Americans:
This article summarizes another study showing the impact of overweight and obesity on young adults interested in enlisting in the U.S. military. Too many remain outside the bounds even of the grueling, weight-shredding experience of basic training and daily PT. The article reports: “Out of all the reasons that we have future soldiers disqualify, the largest – 31 percent ― is obesity:” Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command.
A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that, “active duty soldiers with obesity were 33 percent more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injury, contributing to the more than 3.6 million injuries that occurred among active duty service members between 2008 and 2017.” Said retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr: “[The Defense Department] spends $1.5 billion a year on obesity-related health care for active duty service members and veterans and their family members,” while losing 650,000 days of work a year for active duty troops because of obesity-related health issues.
The study was conducted by Mission: Readiness, an organization of more than 700 retired senior military leaders. One solution they recommended: “institutionalized fitness and nutrition programs in schools, to ensure that kids grow up with healthy habits.” Good idea.
We are grateful beyond measure for the support and interest you have expressed in the fortunes of WholeHealthED and its vision for the health of the nation’s school children and the adults they will become.
Thanks to the Marino Health Foundation for enabling our inaugural June 2018 Symposium. To our fiscal sponsor, Thought Leadership & Innovation (TLI) Foundation. To the stalwart leaders of distinct wellness program movements for coming to Washington last June to talk about the idea of whole health learning. To our great advisory team. To the many supporters in integrative health, policy centers, and education who continue to urge us to keep going.
That is The Plan.
Best wishes for a Happy and Whole 2019,