Students are going back to schools across Alaska this month, and a number of these schools are continuing programs that make healthy drinks, foods and physical activity more available to hundreds of children. To share those ideas that work, Play Every Day launched a new short Public Service Announcement (PSA) that highlights programs in two corners of Alaska: the North Slope Borough School District and Petersburg in Southeast Alaska.
Programs like these may work in other schools. Talk about these ideas with your school districts, PTAs, principals, and wellness committees to see if they could work in your communities and schools.
Creating soda-free schools
One way to help children grow up at a healthy weight is to cut back on serving them sugary drinks. Reducing added sugar can lead to many health benefits, including preventing type 2 diabetes, cavities, even heart disease. After years of support from students, families and athletic booster clubs, the North Slope Borough School District made a change that elementary and middle schools in the district would be soda-free schools. This means soda can't be sold at schools, and it also can't be provided to students for free or brought from home.
Making it easier for kids to drink water at school
Another way to help kids cut back on sugary drinks is to give them more access to drinking water. That's the change that Petersburg School District made in schools across the Southeast community.
In recent years, staff at the district noticed the schools’ water fountains were getting old. They spent years replacing all of them with fountains that could also fill water bottles. The district installed water bottle filling stations at the high school, middle school, and elementary school, as well as the community gym where the elementary students have physical education classes. Then district staff gave a water bottle to every student. In Petersburg, that included about 450 students in grades K-12. Students could fill up those water bottles throughout the day and drink from their bottles during class.
These are just two school districts that are making changes that can help children grow up at a healthy weight. Read more examples from across the state in the success stories shared online.