Schools

Voices for Healthy Kids is working to improve the environment where children learn.

Kids spend a great deal of time at school, where eating healthy and learning about health contribute to higher academic achievement. Students consume nearly two-thirds of their calories while at school and may not be getting the quality physical education they need to achieve ideal health as an adult.

Voices for Healthy Kids will work with state agencies and local school boards to support efforts to make the school day healthier:

School foods — Work to decrease the number of fundraiser exemptions allowed in states to the Healthy, Hunger free Kids Act provisions. Monitor statewide policies for schools to implement both federal competitive foods standards and the meal standards outlined in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.

Physical activity and physical education — Promote more frequent, highly effective, inclusive physical education in schools as the cornerstone of comprehensive physical activity before, during, and after the school day. Address standards-based curriculum, appropriate professional development for teacher certification/licensing, waivers/substitutions, student assessment, accountability, and best practices for adapted physical education. Support other physical activity opportunities including active transportation policy (Safe Routes to School), recess, classroom physical activity breaks, shared use policies, and intramural/club/varsity sports programs, and in other afterschool programs.

Wellness policies — Establish state regulations to support and strengthen the local school wellness policy requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Support the creation and strengthening of school health councils. Focus on the elimination of marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages in schools.

Water access — Ensure free, clean water is accessible during the school day or extended hours while children are in programming in school buildings.

Every Student Succeeds Act—Increase the number of states education accountability plans that address school wellness in a more inclusive way. While addressing traditional health components such as physical education plans is a priority we should also be inclusive of holistic wellness indicators such as chronic absenteeism and graduation rates. Secure funding for physical education and health education available through block grants to states under Title IV of ESSA. Support funding through Title 1 to support related technical assistance for teachers at the most at- risk schools. Support funding through Title II to support professional development for teachers to increase physical education, activity and wellness inclusion throughout the school day.