Health and Wellness

Email: health@paloaltopta.org

Sumita Vasudeva (co-VP), David Shen (co-VP)

The goal of the Health and Wellness Committee is to support school site efforts within one or more of the broad areas of the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model:

  • Health Education
  • Nutrition Environment and Services
  • Employee Wellness
  • Social and Emotional School Climate1
  • Physical Environment
  • Health Services
  • Counseling, Psychological and Social Services
  • Community Involvement
  • Family Engagement
  • Physical Education and Physical Activity

1 Social and Emotional School Climate is the focus of the PTAC Social and Emotional Learning committee.

The Roles and Duties of the Health & Wellness reps at each site can be found in this document: PTA Health & Wellness Role and Duties 11-8-17

NEWS AND INITIATIVES

Real Food for Thought with Dr. Robert Lustig 3-6-19

Has your family thought about eating more ‘real food’? Is
our local community in line with your thinking? Are you
concerned about the quality of food offered to our children
through the school district and our local food vendors? Join
us to hear about similar struggles and success stories from
our neighboring communities. Parents at school districts
around the country are increasingly demanding healthier
menu options, prepared responsibly, sourced sustainably,
using clean ingredients. With increased awareness of how
broken our national food system is, transparency about local
food access, quality, and diversity – is no longer an option, it
is a requirement. Come and learn about what you can do to
advocate for more ‘real food’ in our community.

Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L. is the Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, and Member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF. He is also the Chief Science Officer on the Board of Directors of Eat Real, an organization that is working to solve urgent and significant challenges associated with diet-related disease.

Watch the video of the presentation.

VAPING

See this presentation on Vaping: Vaping in High Schools: Data, Parent Concerns and Paly Response, PTAC’s Proposed Actions.

Vaping Talk by Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher 1-22-19

Vaping novel tobacco/nicotine products, such as vapes and pod-based products such as Juuls, have entered our local market, and our adolescents are now using these products more often than combustible cigarettes. In this talk, Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher:

  1. Provided detailed information on new tobacco/nicotine products, as well as the e-juices that accompany these products.
  2. Discussed recent research on reasons for adolescent use of these products.
  3. Presented advocacy efforts underway in the US to reduce vaping.

PresentationVideo

Professor Christopher Gardner Nutrition Q&A 9-26-18

Did you miss the great nutrition Q&A from Professor Christopher Gardner of Stanford Medical? Watch the video of the talk on Youtube.

PTAC Health and Wellness Training 9-14-18

We held training on September 14, 2018. Rebecca Navarro, Sustainable Schools, and Joslyn Leve, PTAC Environmental Action/Green Team, were present to talk about their work in revitalizing gardens around the district.

The presentation of the training can be found here: PTAC Health & Wellness Training 9-14-18

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead is a metal that occurs naturally and has been used in many products including paint, gasoline and even in food cans in the past. Paint from homes and buildings built prior to 1978 contained lead in it. Certain products and folk remedies have lead in them as well.

Is there lead in or around your home?

Lead is poisonous and harmful to the body. There is no known
safe level of lead in the body. Children are at higher risk
because their bodies and brains are still developing. Lead in
their bodies can cause permanent problems in their brains.

Lead Poisoning is the most common environmental illness in
California children.

California has enacted landmark legislation to prevent
childhood lead poisoning. This legislation has established the
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch, a children’s environmental health program offering multi-layered solutions to this complex problem.

What can our schools do about lead?

One of the initiatives that the State Water Resources Control
Board’s Division of Drinking Water has taken, in collaboration
with the California Department of Education, is to begin testing drinking water in schools (K-12) for lead. Schools that are served by a municipality, water district, mutual water company, or other public water system may request assistance from their public water system to conduct water sampling for lead and to provide technical assistance if an elevated lead sample site is found.

We are working with PAUSD to request testing for our district
schools through this initiative.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Sun Safety

It is predicted that one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime.  Most skin damage from the sun occurs in childhood (Source: American Association of Dermatologist’s website). Some school playgrounds in California can be very sunny and hot in the middle of the day, with high levels of UV radiation even when the weather is cloudy.

Several PAUSD schools already have sun smart initiatives to encourage kids to protect their skin when outside at school by wearing hats and sunscreen.  The PTAC Health and Wellness Committee is looking at whether other PAUSD schools are interested in taking up this health initiative to prevent skin and eye damage.

Health and Wellness Committee members are also investigating whether there is a need for more built shade in PAUSD schools.

Read these two documents on sun safety from the American Academy of Dermatology:

Sun-safety-awareness

Children-and-skin-cancer

Sugar and Nutrition Guidelines

Last year (2016-2017), we presented a series of guidelines on celebrations, rewards, and fundraising with a focus on healthy nutrition and limiting sugar. PTAC endorsed these guidelines, and they are being implemented through the elementary schools now.  The guidelines that we presented are here:

PAUSD Draft Dietary Guidelines v7 June 2017

Celebration Guidelines v1.3 June 2017

Healthy Alternatives to Fundraising v1.1 June 2017

Alternatives to Food Rewards v1.2 June 2017

PTAC supports these guidelines and supports their implementation across the district:

PTAC Letter of Endorsement for Sugar-Nutrition Guidelines Audrey Gold Signed 9-18-17