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Chronicling the Dangers of the School Zone
Monday, August 8th, 2011

The Los Angeles Times published an article detailing the various dangers and health hazards posed by our nation’s schools, including:

Injuries: While gym class injuries remain a threat, inactivity may have more long-term health consequences for the population in general.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle schools and 2.1% of high schools have daily physical education. 22% of schools have no requirement for any physical education.

Illnesses:  Schools are a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Students share desks, books, pencils, and spend the majority of every day in close proximity. Further, according to the CDC, most lunches kids bring to school end up at unsafe temperatures before they’re eaten:   bacteria that causes food poisoning could be multiplying quickly inside the lunch your kids eats. Read more about the dangers of food poisoning.

Poor nutrition: Kids that eat school lunch are at risk, too: school lunches are notoriously unhealthy, often featuring French fries or Tater-Tots as the main vegetable. Budget cuts in many school districts across the country will likely threaten the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the first increase in federal reimbursement for school lunches in more than 30 years.

Bullying:  In a 2009 sample of kids in grades 9-12, the CDC found that 11.1% of high school kids reported being in a physical fight on school property in the past year. Nearly 20% reported being bullied on school property.

Infrastructure hazards: According to the Los Angeles Times piece, the last time a comprehensive tally was done on the repair and maintenance needs of the nation's schools was back in 1999, when the Department of Education determined it would take $127 billion to bring U.S. schools into good operating condition. That was more than a decade ago, and little has been done to repair the overall problems of leaky roofs, ceilings falling in, broken pipes and mold.

Sports: An issue that the article does not cover, but seems to arise annually when young football players start their practices in the summer heat, sports injury is a serious concern for parents of athletes. Read more about sports injuries here.

Read the Los Angeles Times entire article here for tips on navigating the maze of back to school dangers.

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