Rural disparities in health behaviors and weight status jeopardize the well-being of millions of Americans. Compared to urban children, rural children have higher rates of obesity and consume more calories, less fruit, and fewer vegetables. A health-promoting school environment can modify risk behaviors, and periodic assessment of school environments provides crucial information about opportunities for improvement, but national surveillance options are limited. There is also a need to gather nuanced information about the factors that support or limit implementation of systems changes at rural schools. The Food and Fitness survey, part of the RWJF-funded Bridging the Gap Research Program, surveyed a nationally-representative sample of 640 public elementary schools in 2013-14. This project will re-survey schools to examine changes between 2013-14 and 2019-20, with a sample large enough to examine disparities. Aims are to: 1) examine changes in school practices between 2013-14 and 2019-20; and 2) identify the unique strengths and challenges of rural schools, through collection of qualitative data in a purposive sample.
Conducting a Large-Scale Surveillance of Public School Environments to Advance Wellness-Related Practices, With a Focus on Rural Schools
Strong nutrition standards for school meals, consistent with evidence-based recommendations, position children for optimal health and wellbeing. Strong science supports the link between lowering sodium intake and better health. This new issue brief from Healthy Eating Research examines the recent history of sodium standards for school meals. It highlights current sodium intake … More
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More
Stories of Success: A Qualitative Examination of Contributors to Excellence in School Drinking Water Access
Drinking water instead of beverages with added sugar can help prevent obesity and cavities and promote overall health. Children spend much of their day in school, where they have variable access to drinking water. In 2010, federal and state law required California public schools to provide free potable water to … More