Evidence Based Resources and School Wellness Policies
Unfortunately, fewer than one in ten American children and adults eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, fewer than one in four American youth get enough aerobic exercise each day, and only one in four American adults meet physical activity guidelines each day. Furthermore, more than half of Americans do not live within half a mile of a park and 40% of all US households do not live within one mile of healthier food retailers.
HOW TO COMBAT OBESITY
Over the years, many resources have been developed to prevent and manage obesity. Please see below for a selection of these resources:
- CDC Helping Young People Thrive Fact Sheet. This fact sheet provides an overview of healthy practices for Early Care and Education
- Healthy Eating Research for ECE. In this 2017 research review, a comprehensive overview of changes to obesity-prevention policies and evidence-based guidance, that occurred over five years, is discussed in-depth.
- SNAP-Ed Tool Kit | Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Settings. This toolkit details the federally funded intervention, EWPHCCS, that aims to improve the nutrition and physical activity behaviors of preschoolers and their parents/caregivers.
- NYSDOH | Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Centers. This webpage describes the implementation of EWPHCCC through the New York State Department of Health.
- Child Care Licensing Laws for Nutrition, Active Play, and Screen Time SNAPSHOT | New York. In this snapshot, scientifically based health standards are compared with New York’s child care licensing regulations related to nutrition standards, active play and screen time limits.
How to Increase Access to Healthy Foods within Communities
- Capital Roots Healthy Stores. Local to the Capital Region of New York, Capital Roots’ Healthy Stores provides fresh, affordable produce in convenience stores, colleges, and small shops where access to fresh food is limited in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.
- The Food Trust | A Healthy Food Financing Initiative. This easy to read two-pager provides information on the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), where the problems lie, and how the initiative came to be.
- State of Childhood Obesity | State Policies to Prevent Obesity: Healthy Food Financing Initiatives. On this interactive map, states that have any level of public HFFI funding are revealed. Fortunately, New York is one of them! The state-level program is referred to as New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund (HFHC). According to the NYS Directory of Small Business Programs, HFHC “is a $30 million statewide program created to facilitate the development of healthy food markets in underserved communities throughout New York State. The funds provide financing for capital projects and predevelopment activities, including real estate acquisition, construction or rehabilitation, leasehold improvements, equipment, and infrastructure to food markets that cannot obtain conventional financing.” (New York State Directory of Small Business Programs – Page 14).
- Healthy Food Access Portal | Corbin Hill Food Project. This two-page report highlights the Corbin Hill Food Project in NYS, which works to bridge the gap between farm communities that grow local produce and city communities that want and need healthy food under the NYS HFHC Fund.
- Healthy Food Access Portal | MyTown Marketplace. In this two-page report, MyTown Marketplace of Highland Falls in NYS is highlighted for their work under the NYS HFHC Fund.
- Healthy Food = Healthy Economy (Improving the Economic Vitality of New York’s Underserved Communities via Healthy Food Access). In this brief report, access to affordable healthy foods is discussed for the state of New York, along with accomplishments achieved under the HFHC state-wide program.
- The Low Income Investment Fund, The Food Trust, the Reinvestment Fund, and PolicyLink are partners that support either the HHFI or the HFHC Fund. Explore their websites to learn about their specific roles!
- State of Childhood Obesity | State Policies to Prevent Obesity: Complete Streets. This interactive map reveals which states have adopted ‘Complete Streets’ policies; incorporating safe and convenient walking and biking into transportation planning as well as improving and opportunities for such activities. New York State is one of them!
- U.S. Department of Transportation | Complete Streets. This webpage contains information on the National Complete Street Coalition. Check out the additional links provided to learn more!
- Smart Growth America | National Complete Streets Coalition. Smart Growth America empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy and thought leadership to create livable places, healthy people, and share prosperity. Check out their webpage to learn more about the National Complete Streets Coalition!
- New York State Department of Transportation. To learn more about Complete Streets in New York State, check out the Department of Transportation’s website!
- NYSAMPO Complete Streets Fact Sheet. This fact sheet, provided by the New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials, provides information on Complete Streets in New York State.
HOW TO CREATE POLICIES
Resources to creating local school wellness policies to promote children’s health and encourage physical activity during the school day are:
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation Model Wellness Policy. This PDF is a district-level wellness policy template, of which meets the minimum federal standards under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
- California School Board Association Sample Policy. This document provides an example of a school board’s student wellness policy.
- Local Wellness Policy Builder. This full text document is designed to assist schools in creating comprehensive school wellness policies that meet the final rule established under the USDA in 2016.
- SHAPE America | Guide for Recess Policy. In this guide, SHAPE America provides policy components, recommended policy language, accountability measures, and rationales for policy components surrounding recess in school settings.
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation | Ten Essential Components of Local School Wellness Policy Checklist. This two-page document outlines the ten required components of a LSWP, as defined by the USDA final rule of 2016. Districts may use this checklist to revise and/or update their LSWP.
- Does Your Local School Wellness Policy Measure Up? With this two-page resource, local educational agencies or school districts can review and revise and/or update their wellness policies to ensure it meets all requirements under both public law and federal regulations.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
- CDC | Physical Activity Guidelines. This one-page fact sheet outlines how much physical activity is recommended for an individual, depending on their age.
- Physical Activity Promotes Brain Development | Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. This webpage, provided by the University of Nevada, Reno, describes the benefits of physical activity on the developing brain.
- Boston Children’s Answers | Regular physical activity linked to more ‘fit’ preteen brains. On this webpage, the Boston Children’s Hospital provides an overview of a recent study that links physical activity to a more “fit” preteen brain.
- Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment | Maturation of the adolescent brain. This article provides information on the development of the human brain, specifically focusing on the adolescent stage of the life course.
- CDC | The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance. This report describes, in detail, the positive association between school-based physical activity and academic performance.
- CDC | 2015 United Stated Youth Risk Behavior Survey | Dietary Behavior. This two-page report shows the significant association between dietary behaviors and the percentage of students who reported engaging in risky behaviors.
- CDC | 2015 United States Youth Risk Behavior Survey | Physical Activity/Sedentary Behaviors. This one-page report shows the significant association between physical activity/sedentary behaviors and the percentage of students who reported engaging in risky behaviors.
- CDC | Making the Connection: Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors and Academic Grades. This two-page fact sheet reveals data from the 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, showing that students with higher grades were more likely to engage in physical activity compared to students with lower grades.
- CDC | Strategies to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases | A Guide to Increase the Consumption of Fruits & Vegetables. This document provides guidance on how to select strategies to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.