1 in 3 children are overweight or obese. Schools play an important role in helping children make healthy eating choices and physical activity habits while they are young. Healthy habits learned in children’s youth will hopefully be carried into adulthood, which can help prevent obesity and other long-term health problems as an adult. One of the most important things schools can do to help children, is to have a written school wellness policy and enforce that policy. A policy does no good if it is not followed.
A school wellness policy is a written document that guides the school’s efforts to create supportive school nutrition and physical activity environments. It includes things such as nutritional guidelines for all foods on school campus, rules on snacks for classroom parties or special occasions, recess protocol, and more!
Salt Lake County Health Department can help improve your school wellness policies and nutrition and physical activity practices. If your school would like assistance in any of these areas, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to assist you!
Children attend school for about six hours a day. They eat and drink as much as half of their daily calories at school. Therefore, it’s important for schools to be good nutritional role models for students. Schools can shape lifelong healthy eating choices and SLCoHD can offer support by:
- Helping improve your lunchroom by making slight changes to increase healthy food consumption and decrease food waste among children
- Help advertise school summer meals program
- Assess and recruit eligible students to participate in free breakfast and lunch programs
- Start the harvest of the month program
- Help implement breakfast in the classroom
- Help start a school food pantry
- Be a support on a local school coalition or board to help promote good nutrition practices and policies
Children and teens should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Activities should include things that make the heart beat faster, build muscles, and strengthen bones. Here are some examples of ways to keep kids active:
- Jumping rope
- Tug of war
- Tree climbing
Each month, the SLCoHD distributes a school newsletter with important updates on current events, contests, spotlights, health tips, recipes, etc. The newsletters are geared towards school staff, but any parent or student is welcome to read them. If you would like to receive these monthly updates, sign up here. You can view past newsletters below.