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Healthy Schools


Healthy Schools

High-quality education creates pathways to better health.

The likelihood of having diabetes is over 1 in 7 for people with a high school degree or less versus about 1 in 11 for people with more than a high school degree.1

Educational attainment is a key factor in determining lifelong health. Differences in access to education begin early in life. Pre-school is often expensive or unavailable for children from many low-income families, making them less prepared for starting school. 

By third grade, 43% of San Mateo County children do not meet reading proficiency standards, which are a predictor of high school graduation. Research has found that students who read at grade-level are more likely to be healthy throughout their lives. 

Most schools in San Mateo County have wellness policies to create healthy school environments but there is still a lot of work to be done to help schools implement their policies effectively.

The Health Connection

Education is one of the top three determinants of health outcomes.

  • The more education someone has, the healthier they are.2
  • Students who eat a healthy breakfast are better prepared to learn.3
  • Children who get regular physical activity perform better.4


  • All students have access to high-quality education that equips them for career success in environments that promote health.
  • Children’s education is continuous, consistent, and not disrupted by unstable housing conditions (see Healthy Housing for more).