Today, Children’s Health Fund published a report in the Public Library of Science (PLOS-One) titled “Missed Opportunities,” revealing that an alarming majority of US states fail to require adequate health screenings for school-aged children. Findings from the report, featured by Reuters, present evidence that asserts states are not doing an equal or adequate job ensuring that children go to school healthy, and if children are not healthy, they are not ready to learn once in the classroom.
We have known for many years that education is the key to unlocking the pathway out of poverty – and with this study, the intersection of health and education has become even clearer.
Children’s Health Fund has identified seven common, manageable health conditions, referred to as ‘health barriers to learning’, which cause children to have difficulty in school. Treating any of these health conditions – which include uncorrected vision problems, unaddressed hearing problems, uncontrolled asthma, mental health and behavioral problems, dental pain, persistent hunger, and effects of lead exposure – can be a positive factor in not only reducing absenteeism, but making sure that when in the classroom children can see the board, and pay better attention in class. Evidence shows us that reducing these health barriers to learning will result in better educational outcomes and Children’s Health Fund is committed to making sure these health barriers are known, and that parents are empowered to do something about them.
We hope you will read our report here which includes our suggestion of implementing mandatory state-level screening forms. Join us now in inspiring change in our schools. If we are able to act together as a nation today, our children will have brighter opportunities tomorrow.