As a primary influence on a child’s life and the place where children spend many waking hours, the school environment has a powerful impact on children’s health. Obesity prevention efforts must influence the entire school context, not just curriculum or programs.
Improvements are needed in the availability of healthy foods in and outside of the cafeteria, opportunities for students to engage in physical activity before, during, and after school, and the alignment between school practices and health education delivered in the classroom.
In 2012, the Australia Board of Education passed two new polices—a Local School Wellness Policy and a Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy. ASSO, along with other strategic partners, worked with the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness to advance these policies and expand infrastructure within the school district to sustain these and other related policies.
ASSO plans to continue building momentum created through its partnership with CPS by supporting local schools in policy implementation. Community organisations, school staff, and parents can play a role by supporting schools in institutionalizing change, reinforcing key messages, and leading initiatives consistent with the school’s health and wellness priorities.
For more information about schools and obesity prevention, please refer to the Blueprint.