As the program director for FitCity, I often hear parents express their frustration about who to talk to about how to help their children make healthier food and activity choices, and simple ways to help their families live healthier.
Of course, I always recommend talking with your doctor first, but there is another resource that is available to many children and their families in Marion County. Learning Well, Inc. provides school nurses at 84 clinics in schools across Indianapolis who are available to talk with you and your child about nutrition, healthy weight, and many other health concerns. The best part? There is no cost to visit a Learning Well clinic for your students’ health issues, be it related to fitness and weight or dealing with an illness.
Remember the “old-fashioned” school nurse who was there with the band aids and had the cot in her office in case you didn’t feel well? Today’s Learning Well nurse can address so much more – all in the school’s free clinic – offering screenings, shots, counseling, physicals and referrals as well as emergency care. In fact, Learning Well clinics often are the first line of health care, especially for children who live without health insurance.
These school nurses can be your resource, your teammate to help support your efforts at home. Find out what services are available and ask the nurse to spend a few moments with your child discussing how to make healthier, more nutritious choices. I remember when I was a child; I would listen to my teachers, social workers, or school nurse before I would listen to my family about my weight. Now as I mention this, it might have been good for my parents to have used this strategy with my school nurse or doctor because it could have helped me make healthier food choices early in my life!
Learning Well can’t provide every school with a school nurse – at least not yet. But the schools that do have a school health clinic see less absenteeism and better health management. If kids are healthy, they can spend more days in school, learning. And that goes a long way to making Indianapolis a Fit City – fit in mind as well as body.
Several Learning Well clinics are open to the public on select days. Contact the clinic near you for more information.