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
Farm-to-School Education Grants Reach Low-Income Children and Encourage Them to Learn About Fruits and Vegetables
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Many states have pursued legislation to institutionalize programs such as farm to school that aim to improve the quality of school meals and acceptance of healthy foods … More
Digital Food and Beverage Marketing Environments in a National Sample of Middle Schools: Implications for Policy and Practice
One promising approach to influence nutrition behavior is to limit food and beverage marketing to children. Children are a lucrative market and schools may be an effective setting in which to intervene. Studies have shown that marketing in schools is prevalent but little is known about digital marketing to students … More
This Brief summarizes select characteristics of state-level policies and programs to test for lead in school drinking water. It is based on a study from researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute. The full results of the study, … More