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CDC: Positive Trends in School Health Policies, Practices

TUESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- School districts exhibit positive trends in physical activity, tobacco use, and nutrition, according to a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers from the CDC reviewed results from the national School Health Policies and Practices Study conducted in 2012 to examine trends at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. Data were compared with those collected in 2000 and 2006. The characteristics of eight components of school health were assessed.

The researchers found that there were positive trends in physical education and activity, tobacco use, and nutrition. From 2000 to 2012, the percentage of districts that required elementary schools to teach physical education increased from 82.6 to 93.6 percent. During the same period, there was an increase in the percentage of districts with policies that prohibited all tobacco use during any school-related activity, from 46.7 to 67.5 percent. The percentage of districts that required schools to prohibit junk food from vending machines also increased, from 4.1 percent in 2000 to 43.4 percent in 2012. There was a decrease in the percentage of school districts that allowed soft drink companies to advertise on the school grounds, from 46.6 percent in 2006 to 33.5 percent in 2012.

"Schools play a critical role in the health and well-being of our youth," Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC, said in a statement. "Good news for students and parents -- more students have access to healthy food, better physical fitness activities through initiatives such as 'Let's Move,' and campuses that are completely tobacco free."

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