PRESS RELEASE: New Research Shows Awareness Gap, Opportunity for Kansas K-12 Parents’ Involvement…

New Research Shows Awareness Gap, Opportunity for Kansas K-12 Parents’ Involvement in Child Wellness at School
Team up for Kansas Kids to help unite school leaders
and families to promote lifelong wellness

WICHITA, KAN (EMBARGOED UNTIL Nov. 12 2014) – Exposure to healthy habits at a young age can have an enormous impact on lifelong achievement, and school-family collaboration is necessary for the health-promoting behaviors kids need to succeed. But according to a new survey of more than 400 Kansas parents, most are not aware of opportunities to help create healthy school environments. In fact, 86 percent of parents are hungry for more information about school wellness practices, and nearly 40 percent want to be involved in improving health at their child’s school, but don’t know where to start.

The survey also revealed:
•    61 percent of Kansas parents want to see school leaders make health and wellness a very high priority in schools.
•    Most parents believe school environments are “somewhat healthy,” but they also perceive gaps in school wellness performance against their own priorities and expectations.
•    Fewer than one in four parents are aware of wellness committees – valuable tools for developing and implementing health guidelines at their children’s schools. 

To help close this information and resource gap, the Kansas Health Foundation today launched Team up for Kansas Kids to facilitate positive collaboration between school leaders and families and provide interactive wellness resources to improve the wellbeing of children across the state. In partnership with local education and community leaders, the new effort urges families and educators to pledge to learn more and work together to help ensure Kansas kids grow up healthy, smart and strong.

“The school environment – where kids spend up to 2,000 hours every year, or nearly a quarter of their lives during this time2  – has an enormous influence on nutrition, exercise, wellness and academic performance. Parents want to know their kids are learning healthy habits during school hours, and they want to help implement wellness programs that will ensure their kids succeed,” said Tammy Bartels, president of the Kansas Parent Teacher Association. “Healthy students are better learners, and an integrated approach to support wellness before, during and after the school day will help our kids reach their full potential.”

Studies confirm kids who eat breakfast and participate in regular physical activity are healthier and more likely to attend school, concentrate in class, take fewer sick days, comprehend lessons and even score, on average, 17.5 points higher on standardized math tests. In order to best equip school leaders and families to explore new ways of collaboratively encouraging healthy choices both at home and in the classroom, Team Up for Kansas Kids is also today launching a robust resource website, which includes:
•    Current state-wide and national how-to guides for implementing or expanding kids’ nutrition, exercise and integrated school wellness programs;
•    Additional facts and guidelines for school leaders and families to learn more about child wellness and how to get involved; and
•    Program ideas and tips for improving child health and wellness both in schools and at home.

“The Kansas Health Foundation is dedicated to providing all Kansans with the opportunity to live a healthy life – and that means promoting wellness at a young age,” said Steve Coen, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation. “Team Up for Kansas Kids aims to bridge the gap between those with the most influence on a child’s lifelong health and wellness – family members and school leaders.”

To learn more about Team Up for Kansas Kids, sign the pledge, and learn how to facilitate constructive conversations and positive action in your community, visit For more information, contact Blythe Thomas,

About Team Up for Kansas Kids
Team Up for Kansas Kids is a statewide effort designed to close information and resource gaps between families and school leaders, facilitating positive partnerships to improve the wellbeing of children across Kansas.
We are working to promote healthy habits both at school and at home by providing a repository of best practices, how-to guides and valuable resources to facilitate constructive conversations and collaborative action. Through school-family collaborations, Team Up for Kansas Kids aims to bring together important role models and provide them with the tools they need to meet and exceed wellness guidelines in schools across the state. Together, we can help Kansas kids grow up smart, strong and healthy.

Team Up for Kansas Kids is funded by the Kansas Health Foundation, an organization dedicated to ensuring Kansans have the opportunity to live a healthy life. Visit our website ( to join our mission and pledge to Team Up for Kansas Kids.

About Kansas Health Foundation
The Kansas Health Foundation ( is a private philanthropy dedicated to improving the health of all Kansans. Our funding comes from an endowment created by the sale of Wesley Medical Center, and today the foundation’s asset base is more than $500 million. The foundation invests its resources on preventing chronic disease among Kansans by promoting and supporting health initiatives focused on active living, healthy eating and tobacco-free living.

Together with grantees and partners, KHF’s goals include making Kansas the healthiest, most productive, most liveable state in the nation. To learn more, please visit; follow us on Twitter @KansasHealthOrg; or visit

About the Team Up for Kansas Kids Parent Survey
The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by the Kansas Health Foundation, produced by research firm Edelman Berland and conducted as an online survey of n=400 Kansas parents of children in grades K-12. Interviewing took place from September 26 to October 2, 2014.

[1] Team Up for Kansas Kids 2014 Parent Survey.
[2] The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success through Healthy School Environments. GenYouth Foundation; 2013.
[3] The Learning Connection: What You Need to Know to Ensure Your Kids are Healthy and Ready to Learn. Action for Healthy Kids; 2013.

Facts About Kansas Kids