Building Healthy Communities: Creating Policy to Sustain Health-Related School Change
Keywords:school policy, whole school, whole community, whole child, physical activity, healthy eating, comprehensive school physical activity programs
Many organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academies of Science have called on schools to address childhood obesity and provide more opportunities for children to be active and eat healthier. This study discusses the impact that one comprehensive school program, Building Healthy Communities (BHC), had on school policy across 40 Midwest elementary schools. The study aim was to assess elementary schools that participated in the BHC whole-of-school intervention and examine the policy changes that took place during the year-long intervention, as well as proposed changes made as part of a sustainability plan. Findings indicated that evidenced-based tools can spur awareness of the need for health-based school change among administration, which in turn can prompt the adoption of school-level adherence policies. The intersection between school-based health policy and community-based youth programs is explored as an important part of comprehensive youth health promotion.
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