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Safe and Healthy Students
About Safe and Healthy Students


When children are physically active and eat well, they do better on tests, have better school attendance and are more focused in their learning. Whether you are a parent, principal, or school staff, there are many ways you can help your students be healthier and have fun!


Positive Effects of Nutrition and Physical Activity on Student Behavior and Academics

  • Participation in breakfast programs is associated with improved attendance, deceased tardiness and discipline referral. (Source: Discover School Breakfast Toolkit, United States Department of Agriculture and Congressional Hunger Center; http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Breakfast/toolkit/
  • Numerous studies have found that children who are more physical perform better academically. Adolescents participating in physical education and team sports, or playing sports with their parents, were 20% more likely than their sedentary peers to earn an A grade in math or English. (Source: Active Education, Active Living Research a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fall 2007 Research Brief)
  • Short activity breaks during the school day can improve students concentration skills and classroom behavior. One study found that providing elementary students with a daily 10-minute activity break increased on-task behavior by an average of 8%, while the least on-task students improved on-task behavior by 20%. (Source: Active Education, Active Living Research a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fall 2007 Research Brief)
  • Recess is the single biggest opportunity to raise the level of physical activity for all children. Nationwide, kids between first and sixth grade spend more time on average per week in recess than they do in physical education. Nearly half (42%) of these students opportunity for physical activity is during recess, as compared to their opportunity through physical education (32%). (Source: Recess Rules, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, September 2007)

Combating Childhood Obesity

  • Among children ages 6-11, 33% are overweight and 17% are obese, while 34% of adolescents and teens ages 12-19 are overweight and 17.6% are obese (these rates have roughly doubled since 1980). (Source: Shape of the Nation Report, 2010)
  • Nationwide, fewer than one-third of all children ages 6 to 17 engage in vigorous activity, defined as participating in physical activity for at least 20 minutes that made the child sweat and breathe hard. (Source: Shape of the Nation Report, 2010)
  • Being overweight in childhood increases the risk for development of asthma, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, orthopedic complications, sleep apnea, psychosocial problems, and adult obesity. (Source: http://www.obesity.org)

Program Funding

Safe and Healthy Students, (previously known as Healthy Kids Focused Students) is funded by the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Minnesota's historic health care reform initiative that was signed into law in 2008 to combat chronic disease. Minneapolis was one of 40 communities statewide to receive grant money and MPS is focused on reducing obesity by promoting physical activity and good nutrition among students.

Safe and Healthy Students is a partnership between Minneapolis Public Schools and the City of Minneapolis Department of Health & Family Support.

Safe and Healthy Students is also part of the implementation of MPS Wellness Policy 6690 that was enacted as part of the federal Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act.