Peggy John Promotes Steps to a Healthier Florida School Program
(l-r) Scott Goyer, member of The Rotary Club of Clearwater, Peggy Johns, Supervisor of Health Education for Pinellas County School District
Peggy John, Supervisor of Health Education for the Pinellas County School District (PCSD), was the guest speaker at the Clearwater Rotary Club on Wednesday, September 26. She has worked in the PCSD for over 25 years and currently heads a small staff responsible for the physical fitness and nutrition education of students Pre-K - 12. The PCSD is a leader nation wide in creative programs in this area.
She spoke about the Steps to a Healthier Florida school program which has been very successful in promoting student health. This program is a multi-million dollar effort funded by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and is being implemented since 2003 in the southern half of Pinellas County, although the principles are being applied throughout the entire district. Its goals are to reduce obesity, diabetes and asthma by addressing the three contributing behaviors of poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco usage.
The PCSD is one of very few districts nationwide that employs certified physical education teachers in all elementary schools. Students receive 30 minutes per day of supervised physical exercise. The results of this are impressive. The measure of Cardiovascular Endurance has increased from 20 percent in 2003 to 75 percent in 2006.
Other programs under Steps are the Salad Program, Teen Cuisine "Quick Bites" and The Asthma Project. PCSD's school lunches were ranked first in the state and second in the country in promoting the health of children. The Asthma Project has seen a 33 percent reduction in student absences.
Return to Current Edition