Adolescent health: Mental health, stress and sleep

Got teens? Check out this informational series in the New York Times. The the fourth installment in the Adolescent Health series focuses on mental health issues and sleep. So far the newspaper has also provided resources on general teenage health and safety, sex and teenage pregnancy, and drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Read more.

Cutting short lunch time in school may lead to obesity

School districts across the country are revamping their menus to serve healthier fare, but most schools give students so little time to eat that they could be contributing unwittingly to the childhood obesity problem. Read more in USA Today.

Healthy school lunch packing tips

The Internet is abuzz with school lunch packing tips for parents. Here are but a few good resources:

  • Epicurious It’s back to school time, and that means mostly gleeful parents (as the Staple’s commercial reminds us, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,”) and mostly sad kids. For me it also means an uptick in television segments–as evidenced in this shot from my kitchen yesterday for a local ABC news shoot–because Epicurious offers a ton of back-to-school articles and recipes, and my book, Real Food for Healthy Kids, has an entire chapter devoted to healthy brown-bag lunches.
  • Food Network Where I live, school starts this week so I need to switch gears from casual summer fare to brain food.  Did I just say “brain food?” Yep, it’s true, certain foods actually improve memory, energy, focus and growth. And these delights all fit in one little lunch bag.
  • Fox News Being on a budget doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice taste or nutrition in your kid’s school lunch.  The key is to limit saturated fat and sugar. Cookies and French fries are not every day foods but treats that should be eaten sparingly. Instead, you want to incorporate some protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in every meal. Adding fiber as well will keep kids feeling full and give them the energy they need to focus throughout the school day.

Childhood obesity, drug abuse top concerns for parents

Sexting and Internet safety issues now rank among the top 10 health concerns U.S. adults have about children, joining childhood obesity, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy, according to a new poll by the University of Michigan. Read more at  WebMD.

Fresh food revolution comes to Colorado schools

green vegetablesAll school, no play? Kids’ learning suffers without recess, experts say

When Deborah Gilboa’s second-oldest son Nadav started coming home from first grade with discipline warnings from his teacher, Gilboa and her husband were perplexed. Nadav, who had just turned 6, had the same teacher in kindergarten and had rarely gotten into trouble. Read more in the Colorado Independent.

A healthy start to the school year

The first day of school is fast approaching. Sure, stores have been filled with back-to-school supplies since mid-July, but now that it’s mid-August, it’s time to really prepare for the new academic year. With so many things to think about, it’s easy to overlook one of the most basic necessities for this transition: your child’s health. Read more in the Herndon Patch.

Goodbye, mystery meat? School lunches get more healthful

Kids may claim that Tater Tots are the only edible food in the school cafeteria, but in reality, school lunches are getting more healthful. Check out this NPR blog.

Smokeless tobacco products present new challenge for Colorado health officials

The public fight over tobacco is taking new shapes, literally, as Colorado becomes a testing ground for nicotine in the form of toothpicks, breath mints and strips that dissolve on the tongue.

The new forms of tobacco — potentially attractive to kids and a crutch for smokers whom health officials say should quit nicotine altogether — prompted public hearings and a scramble by regulators. Read more in the Denver Post.

Kids with nut allergies feel teased, excluded

Amanda Santos wanted to send her 5-year-old daughter, Skylar, to a small private school. But after they interviewed, met the teachers, and submitted Skylar’s medical records, they never heard back from the school, despite repeated inquiries. Read more at CNN.

Fairview Elementary garden grows student pride, healthy meals

School garden
Working in a school garden, such as this one at Denver's Fairview Elementary School, helps overcome student reluctance to try new foods.

Students working at the Fairview Elementary Community Garden are cultivating a sense of self-worth and sprouting healthier meals for their families at home.

The garden, which was started 10 years ago with the help of Denver Urban Gardens, provides an oasis in the middle of the food desert that is Sun Valley. Read more in the Denver Post.

Top 10 things parents can do to improve school lunch

It once was a given that the lunchroom lady got to work early and sweated over hot ovens until the kids came streaming in for lunch. That paradigm went the way of the victory garden until it became a given that school food was almost inedible with pretend chicken nuggets and bright yellow macaroni and cheese. Read more in the LunchBox.

Breastfeeding teacher, ACLU sue school district

EVERGREEN – This week marks the beginning of a new school year for hundreds of Colorado teachers. While they prepare to head back to class, at least one teacher is preparing to go to court. Check out the 9NEWS report.

USDA reviewing 132,000 comments on school nutrition standards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a paper jam.

The agency is reviewing more than 132,000 comments on a proposed rule to update school nutrition standards, agency officials said Aug. 15. Read more in The Packer, a publication covering the produce industry.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.