East Hawaii News

DOE, DOH Release Safety and Wellness Results

October 20, 2014, 4:48 PM HST
* Updated October 20, 4:58 PM
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The Hawai’i State Departments of Health and Education released findings Monday from the second annual Safety and Wellness Survey for all Hawai’i non-charter public schools during the 2012-13 school year.

Consistent high levels of achievement were indicated with all schools meeting an average of 76 percent of DOE Wellness Guidelines.

“The importance of health and nutrition standards in our schools cannot be overstated,” according to Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Our Wellness Guidelines help students stay healthy and ready to learn.”

These guidelines are a set of standards for foods and beverages provided to students. They also include school-based wellness committees, health and physical education, and other practices that support student health. Since 2011, the guidelines have been required of all 255 non-charter public schools in the state and the SAWS is administered annually to each school’s principal.

“Healthy and physically active students are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful,” said Health Director Dr. Linda Rosen. “Schools that follow the Wellness Guidelines provide a healthy foundation for their student to thrive in school and life.”

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In the 2012-13 school year, the survey found that 94 percent of Hawai’i schools have integrated nutrition education into multiple areas of the curriculum, including math, science, and English language art.

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Ninety-five percent of schools reported that they require physical education classes that align with proper state standards.

The survey also revealed that 100 percent of the schools reported promoting the importance of eating nutritious meals and snacks, with 77 percent of the schools having a wellness committee that oversees Wellness Guideline Implementation.

The greatest challenge principals reported is ensuring that only nutritious foods and beverages are sold or are provided to students outside of the cafeteria. Only 39 percent of schools were able to meet this requirement.

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Fifty-five Hawai’i public schools gained recognition with “Excellence in Wellness Awards” for achieving 90 percent or higher on the SAWS during the 2012-2013 school year.

Of the 55 schools to gained this recognition, five were from the Big Island, including E.B. deSilva (95.2 percent), Honaunau Elementary (90.5 percent), Ka’u High School and Pahala Elementary (90.9 percent), Kea’au Elementary (95.2 percent), and Keonepoko Elementary (90.5 percent).

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