WCPS Health & Wellness Update

WCPS Health & Wellness Update
Posted on 03/26/2018
Nationally, 1 in 3 children are obese or overweight, with annual medical costs related to these conditions costing the U.S. nearly $200 billion in healthcare. Additionally, schools across the country have seen reduced productivity and decreased teacher retention due to high levels of anxiety and stress, poor health habits and increased healthcare costs.

Worcester County Public Schools is responding to these statistics and determined to make a difference. They have recently received their bi-annual report from the Maryland Wellness Policies and Practices Project (MWPPP). The MWPPP is a statewide initiative by the Maryland School Wellness Partnership, a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of Maryland school of Health and the Maryland State Department of Education.

For the last six years, the MWPPP is a program that offers guidance and resources for counties in Maryland to enhance opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, and mental wellness at the school level, by improving and monitoring its policies and procedures.

The report on Worcester County's school and county health and wellness plans, shows them out ranking the state on 85% of the questions/components in the survey. Some of the highlights include 100% of Worcester County schools having health and wellness committees which are active and fully in place, 83% of schools providing annual progress reports to their system on school-level wellness policy implementation, and 50% of schools providing resources and support for implementing regular physical activity breaks for every grade level. They also scored very high when reporting out about school wellness action plans, monitoring wellness policies, promoting and supporting walking and bicycling to school, and addressing employee wellness.

Areas of challenge for the school system include getting more student and parent participation and input around health and wellness policies, practices and procedures. In addition, food-based rewards and food celebrations are also an area that the schools will continue to work on. In the upcoming 2018-19 school year, if you would like to volunteer on the health and wellness committee, please contact your child’s school. The full report on Worcester County’s Maryland Wellness Policies & Practices Project can be found here.