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Schools not only have an opportunity to teach and reinforce important health messages, but they also have the responsibility of keeping students and staff safe and healthy before, during and after school hours.

Numerous organizations, publications and other resources are available to provide effective health and safety policies and practices to promote health and prevent disease in the school setting.

Though the primary mission of schools is to educate students, schools also exercise a powerful role in shaping the health and well-being of young people. Currently approximately 55 million children are enrolled in nearly 125,000 US schools. As such, schools represent one of the greatest opportunities to communicate important health messages to America's children and youth.

Did You Know?

  • Health-risk behaviors such as substance use, violence, and physical inactivity are consistently linked to academic failure, and often affect students' school attendance, grades, test scores, and ability to pay attention in class
    Source: CDC-Division of Adolescent and School Health
  • Dropping out of school is associated with delayed employment opportunities, poverty and poor health
    Source: HP2010, Objective 7-1
  • During adolescence, dropping out of school is associated with multiple social and health problems, including substance abuse, delinquency, intentional and unintentional injury and unintended pregnancy
    Source: HP2010, Objective 7-1
AAP Links
  • AAP Community-based Initiatives
    This Web page includes information about the various AAP Community-based initiatives including the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) and Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children (HTPCP) grant programs, along with various community pediatrics resources and links to related programs.

  • Council on Community Pediatrics
    The AAP Council on Community Pediatrics (COCP) strives to help pediatricians integrate community pediatrics' principles into pediatric practice through policy, education and other programs. Recognizing multiple factors outside the health care system including, socioeconomics, geography, and environment impact the health and welfare of children and adolescents, community pediatrics seeks to strengthen pediatric practice by employing a combination of effective clinical practices and public health techniques.

  • Disaster Preparedness Resources
    The AAP identified disaster preparedness as one of its strategic health priorities in 2006. This comprehensive Web site includes a section titled, "Resources for Schools", that provides information for school personnel, school nurses, pediatricians, and others working to strengthen disaster planning in schools.

  • Healthy Child Care America
    High-quality early education and child care for young children improves their health and promotes their development and learning. This Web site provides information and resources to help families, health care and child care providers support health and safe child care programs.

  • Managing Allergies and Anaphylaxis in the Clinic and Beyond

    This free online course provides a web-based learning experience addressing the management of allergies and anaphylaxis in the clinical, early care and education, and school settings. General practicing clinicians will build skills and efficacy in:

    • Diagnosis 
    • Prescribing medication
    • Identifying environmental factors that increase risk of exposure

    Building an allergy and anaphylaxis action plan with patients and their families.

  • National Center for Medical Home Implementation
    Children and adolescents are entitled to a medical home where health care services are accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate and culturally-competent. Through the National Center, physicians, parents, administrators, and other health care professionals have access to educational, resource, and advocacy materials, guidelines for care, evaluation tools and technical assistance.

  • Schooled in Asthma
    The AAP received funding through a 5-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) to develop, implement and evaluate the Schooled in Asthma project. Schooled in Asthma was a training program that encouraged pediatricians to incorporate school health concepts with current asthma treatment guidelines.

  • Section on Early Education and Child Care
    The section on Early Education and Child Care is a group of 200 AAP members and others who have interest or expertise in child care health and safety. The Section provides a forum for pediatricians and others to share successes and strategies and to sponsor educational programs highlighting aspects to create healthier child care environments.

Health & Academics

It has been well known for some time now that health and education are inextricably linked. More recently the evidence has been mounting that suggests students who eat well and are physically active do better in school. Recent studies of students in Texasand New York City suggest that higher levels of fitness are associated with higher results on standardized tests and better academic performance.

The academic success of America’s youth is strongly linked with their health. According to School Health Policy & Practice, sixth edition, many of the factors that influence academic outcomes also affect health outcomes. Students who succeed in school are more likely to become healthier, more productive adults than those students who experience academic failure. Education is one of the strongest predictors of health: the more schooling people have the better their health is likely to be. This relationship is also played out between health risk behaviors and years of schooling and academic performance.

To learn more about the link between health and academics visit:

External Links

The AAP Council on School Health wants all pediatricians to know and work closely with partners in the health and education community. The following groups provide various information, resources and publications to support the health and safety of children in the school setting.

Additional Links

  • CDC School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS)
    The SHPPS is a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and programs at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. SHPPS was most recently conducted in 2006 and was previously conducted in 2000 and 1994.

  • Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools
    This guide is intended to assist schools that are planning and/or maintaining an asthma management program

  • Pandemic Flu, Schools and the Pediatrician
    The US Department of Education is collaborating with health experts and agencies across the federal government to ensure that, in the event of pandemic flu, educational operations will continue. State and local preparedness will be crucial in preventing the spread of disease. Because schools are centers of community life, we ask that pediatricians understand the process of pandemic planning for schools and work with local officials and families to support school planning. Schools are an appropriate venue for teaching about respiratory etiquette and hand washing, felt to be effective interventions in decreasing disease transmission

  • Stop Bullying Now
    This web site provides one-stop access to U.S. Government information on bullying topics. provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.