Prompted in part by the rising rate of obesity among school-age children, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a report on the role of the nation’s public schools in fostering good nutrition and exercise habits in students.

“Obesity among school-age children has become a national concern, with the number of overweight children aged 6–11 more than tripling over the past three decades,” said NCES commissioner Mark Schneider in a press release announcing the report’s publication. “One way to address this health issue is to emphasize an ‘energy balance’ approach—calories consumed versus calories expended—to support healthy eating and an active lifestyle.”

Called “Calories In, Calories Out: Food and Exercise in Public Elementary Schools, 2005,” the report sheds light on the current availability of healthy food and the opportunities to exercise. The full text of the report can be downloaded at the NCES website, www.nces.ed.gov.