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Support strengthens for schools’ role in helping families get health care

Mar 31, 2018

Download the report here and the data tables here.

The most recent School Health Profiles, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that 71% of Kentucky secondary schools had protocols ensuring that children with chronic conditions are enrolled in eligible insurance programs.1 In addition, about half of Kentucky’s secondary schools provided health care referrals to students with chronic conditions. Healthy students can better achieve academic success than those facing challenges to their health.2 To find out Kentucky adults’ opinions about school health, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) asked two questions about the topic. KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Most adults favor schools’ role in health

According to KHIP, support was strong for schools to take a more active role in helping families get health care services for children. In 2017, more than 6 in 10 Kentucky adults (61%) strongly favored this.

Adults in households with income more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)3 were less likely than adults in households earning 200% FPG or less to favor schools taking a more active role in health. Likewise, Republicans were less likely than Democrats or Independents to favor schools taking a more active role.
Support for schools’ role in health was significantly higher in 2017 than in 2009, the last time KHIP asked this question. In 2009, 5 in 10 Kentucky adults strongly favored (52%) and 2 in 10 somewhat favored (23%) schools taking a more active role in helping families get health care. The economic and partisan divides found in 2017 were also found in 2009.

Adults favorable about school nurses

In 2017, Kentucky adults overwhelmingly favored (92%) a state law requiring schools to have a nurse in each school building. Support was slightly more likely among adults in households earning 200% FPG or less (95%) than among adults in households earning more than 200% FPG (88%). Support was strong across political parties. Large majorities of Democrats (93%), Republicans (90%) and Independents (90%) favored a school nurse requirement.

The School Health Profiles estimated that 54% of secondary schools in Kentucky had a full-time registered nurse who provides health services to students, 45% had a part-time registered nurse and 29% had a school-based health center.4


1 Brener ND, Demissie Z, McManus T, Shanklin SL, Queen B, Kann L. School Health Profiles 2016: Characteristics of Health Programs Among Secondary Schools. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2017. Accessed Jan. 31, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/profiles/pdf/2016/2016_Profiles_Report.pdf.

2 For Kentucky data, see Student Health tab on http://openhouse.education.ky.gov/Data.

3 In 2016, 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines was $48,600 for a family of four.

4 Brener ND, Demissie Z, McManus T, Shanklin SL, Queen B, Kann L. School Health Profiles 2016: Characteristics of Health Programs Among Secondary Schools. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2017. Accessed Jan. 31, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/profiles/pdf/2016/2016_Profiles_Report.pdf.

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