More Evidence that Physical Activity Improves Grades

It’s no secret that physically active kids are healthier, but a state study released Wednesday found that they also do better on reading and writing, and even school attendance.

Fourteen schools in central and northern Minnesota each received $10,000 to implement three-year physical activity programs under a study conducted by the state’s departments of Health and Education.

Most schools went beyond merely beefing up the traditional physical education class. Instead, they incorporated physical activity throughout the day — before and after school as well as movement within the classroom.

Researchers found that students who were physically fit were much more likely to score better on state standardized tests. They were 27% more likely to be proficient in math and 24% more likely to be proficient in reading.

Each school chose its own set of activities. For example, one school took  two 10-minute breaks each day to move around, sometimes using internet programs such as GoNoodle. They also had before- and after-school activities such as running, yoga, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.


Minnesota Adopting Physical Activity Standards for Schools

Legislation passed in 2016 requires the Minnesota Department of Education to adopt the national physical education standards and “modify them according to state interest.” 

Using the SHAPE America National Standards as a base, they are in the process of making changes to the national standards address state statutory requirements and best practices in physical education. 

The new standards will replace the state’s current standards, the National Standards for Physical Education, which were developed by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, adopted by Minnesota in 2010, and implemented in all schools in the 2012-2013 school year. 

Here are their current Physical Education Standards Draft Rules 


E-cigs quadruple probability of smoking tobacco
A newly published study found that young adults using electronic cigarettes quadruple their chance of smoking tobacco within 18 months. 

The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine monitored young adults aged between 18 to 30 years – who had never smoked conventional cigarettes for a year.  Of the participants who said they vaped e-cigarettes in the first questionnaire, 47% had started smoking cigarettes 18 months later compared to 11% percent of those who didn’t use e-cigarettes.


Arizona WIC Implements Electronic Benefit Transfer

Arizona’s Women, Infant, and Children implemented an electronic benefits system last week, providing enhanced (and more secure) service and benefits to participants, clinic staff, and WIC vendors (grocery stores authorized to accept Arizona WIC benefits).  

The program began moving away from paper benefits back in checks to an electronic system thanks to a $5M grant they received from the USDA in 2014.  It’s basically an electronic system that replaces paper vouchers with a card for food benefit issuance and redemption at authorized WIC grocery stores. Stores in Arizona that participate in WIC services sell about $150M in healthy foods to participants each year.  

WIC is a national nutrition and breastfeeding program that serves low income women, infants, and children and provides nutrition education, breastfeeding information and support, referrals to community services, and healthy foods. The Arizona WIC Program serves more than 160,000 women, infants, and children each month with services provided by 21 local agencies.

Congratulations to Celia Nabor and her entire team, including the folks in I.T. that made EBT transfer a reality.  From now on all current and future WIC members (and vendors of course) will benefit from the team’s work. Accomplishments like this are the things that make public service jobs so rewarding.


ADHS’ Opioid Surveillance Rulemaking

The ADHS initiated a rulemaking last week for opioid surveillance and reporting requirements. The draft rules are based on the emergency rules currently in effect.  They plan to host some meetings to solicit input on the draft rules prior to proposing formal rules. They’re also accepting comments through their online portal.