Jackson, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Department of Education announced today that more than 400 Mississippi school nurses are being trained to become the first school nurses in the nation to fight the rise of obesity in children through the SCOPE program – School Nurse Childhood Obesity Prevention Education. The program and training is provided by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). The program provides strategies for school nurses to assist students, families and the school community to promote healthy weight.
In Mississippi, statistics have shown that 24 percent of students in grades one through eight are overweight and nearly 15 percent of those in the same grades are at risk for becoming overweight. The goal of this program is to prevent obesity in children and to correct obesity issues in overweight children before they become chronically ill adults.
“Obesity is a critical health issue in Mississippi and solving this crisis takes everyone working together. It takes state agencies, schools, churches, families and private businesses all making the commitment to make Mississippi children healthy,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier. “As a team, the Mississippi State Health Department and the Mississippi Department of Education are working to address this issue.”
SCOPE utilizes school nurses to assess high risk students, provides them with the tools to assist students, parents and school administrators to promote a healthy weight and lifestyle and encourage community partnerships.
"As a former superintendent, I know how important our school nurses are in providing opportunities for our students to stay healthy and in our classrooms learning," Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. John Jordan said. "Getting our nurses together to allow them to discuss issues they may be facing in their districts is key in helping them meet that goal."
A second training will be held September 22 in Tupelo for school nurses unable to attend this week’s sessions.