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Frequenty Asked Questions

Why does the American Cancer Society care about School Health?

I teach my kids how to eat right, why does the school have to interfere?

How to make sure that the school has advanced writers who will be able to teach the child all the main topics related to health?

My child is getting plenty of health education already.

Teachers are already overworked...

So, exactly what is the Healthy Kids Network?

Why does the American Cancer Society care about School Health?    

    The American Cancer Society cares about preventing cancer at all age levels. The American Cancer Society realized that we could prevent many forms of cancer if people learn about the risks and how to avoid them at an early age. The ACS has developed individual programs to address skin cancer, breast cancer and other types of cancer that usually attack the adult population. They found that many types of cancer risks could be impacted by decisions made early in life, even as young as grade school. So, they began to look at the education process and how kids were being taught about the various health risks facing them every day. The ACS realized that kids and parents were not getting enough information about the complex, life threatening issues they face every day. It is not enough to distribute information on specific diseases, it is more important to help teach our kids how to live healthy, how to eat right and the importance of physical exercise. All of these areas can and should be covered both at home by parents and at school. If we could apply everything we knew about cancer prevention to the general population, we could decrease cancer by 50-60%.

I teach my kids how to eat right, why does the school have to interfere?

    Several things the ACS has learned support having stronger school health programs. If school support parents by teaching school health it reinforces what kids learn at home. Many kids today come from single parent homes or homes where both parents work and have little time to discuss health issues. These kids need a chance to get good information. Kids respond more favorably to information from outside sources that supports what parents are teaching. If schools have good school health programs, they usually have healthier environments for kids to learn
    Back to top My child is getting plenty of health education already.

Why should I push for more?

  Only 3% of our nation's youth are being taught health in a way that would influence their behaviors. It takes at least 50 hours of instruction to have an impact and most kids are lucky if they get 10-15 minutes a week. Sometimes kids get instructions on specific issues like drugs and alcohol abuse, but these programs are not done on a yearly basis and by themselves will not keep our children from participating in risky behaviors.


Teachers are already overworked and kids need to focus on the things that count, like reading and math.

    Every time a major test is happening at school, parents receive a note telling them to make sure their child has a good night's sleep and a good breakfast the day of the test. If it increases the student's chance of performing well on test day, won't it increase his or her ability to learn more every day? The ACS knows how little time teachers have to devote to key subjects, but there is curriculum available that teaches health topics and can be worked into various classes like science and math.

How do I make sure the school teaches what I want?

    The ACS knows to give school health the attention it needs will require system change. It will require parents and community leaders expressing their concern about the lack of attention paid to the health issues affecting their children. It will require refocusing the priorities of school administrators to see the bigger picture, including everything from school nurses to cafeterias to curriculum. And that change won't happen without parents expressing their desire for healthier kids, It won't happen unless parents start asking tough questions of school administrators. And it won't happen until parents show their willingness to be involved. The ACS feels strongly that parent should be involved in the education process. We are working with school districts to support and encourage the formation of school health advisory councils (SHACs) that are comprised of parents, community leaders, school personnel and others who have an impact on school health issues. These councils are an opportunity for parental input into school health programs and provide a link between schools and parents. The ACS is also involved in programs to inform and educate communities and parents about the need for quality school health education. We are working to develop a grassroots organization that can help make school health a priority in each and every community.

So, exactly what is the Healthy Kids Network?

    The Healthy Kids Network is a grassroots group sponsored by the American Cancer Society that consists of parents, caregivers, school personnel, community leaders, members of the faith community and virtually anyone who is interested in making school health a priority for all children. By joining the Health Kids Network, you are joining a group of adults and even youth who want to see health education and health programs in schools given the attention they deserve. Many of the individuals who have joined our network are also involved in specific issues like drug and alcohol abuse. But they realize the importance of working together to make sure all issues that affect children's health are recognized and included in school health programs.

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