Program to help kids get screened

Published 4:30 am Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Alabama Rural Action Commission (ARAC), created by Gov. Bob Riley, has brought a new plan for helping kids health in schools.

Through the new program called KidCheck, each school selects one day throughout a school year when students with parental permission have a nurse from local colleges check the status of their current health.

“This is a way we can get into the schools and really help the kids out who are not able to go to a doctor on a regular basis due to insurance,” said Chad Nichols, assistant director of the Alabama Rural Action Commission.

“In the schools that have implemented the KidCheck program, the participation numbers have grown to over 80 percent.”

The screenings are free and include physical assessments like height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, vision, hearing, oral health and scoliosis. Many of these test are done throughout a school year anyway so combining them into one day will help keep the students in class.

“This program helps out everybody. The nurses that come out from the two year and four year colleges get hands on experience while the kids get a check up. It’s a win, win situation.” Nichols said.

Yesterday, the ARAC held a statewide meeting at the Alabama Power Conference Center in Clanton. The meeting was open to the public as well as any teachers and school officials that wanted to learn more about the program.

During the meeting a training video produced by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama was shown to give the audience an idea of what the program can do for state school systems and the difference that it can make in the kids lives by early detection of problems.

“We are split into eight regions and our goal is to have at least one school in each region adopt the program this year. They have just a little bit of time left to get together and think about the lives they can change by making their school a healthier place to be,” Nichols said. “With this being an annual event once the program gets started, there is a good chance that we can work to keep large epidemic sicknesses from keeping many students out making the absentee list shorter.”

For more information on the project visit