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J Sch Health. 2010 Nov;80(11):527-35; quiz 570-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00538.x.

School wellness policies: perceptions, barriers, and needs among school leaders and wellness advocates.

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  • 1California Department of Public Health, PO Box 997377, MS 7211, Sacramento, CA 95899-7377, USA.



School wellness policies are a key component to the prevention of adolescent obesity. This national research study sought to understand the wellness environment in school districts across the country and to identify challenges districts face and needs they have in order to effectively implement, monitor, and evaluate school wellness policies. The study determined (1) perceptions, barriers, and opportunities regarding the development, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation of school wellness policies among school board members, state school boards association leaders, state public health nutrition directors, and school wellness advocates; (2) the readiness and capacity of survey groups to address nutrition and physical activity policies; (3) the extent to which survey groups collaborate; and (4) the acceptability of wellness tools.


In 2006, over 2900 individuals participated in online surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews. School board members represented 1296 school districts across the nation.


School board members expressed the highest level of confidence among all survey groups that their district has the capacity to develop, implement, and monitor/ evaluate the wellness policy. The disparities among groups are most notable with regard to perceptions of district capacity to monitor/evaluate the policy. School board members are interested in school wellness policy tools and trainings.


There is an opportunity for state school boards associations, state public health nutrition directors, and school wellness advocates to build their own capacity to provide training and resources to districts on wellness issues, particularly physical education/activity, school-based wellness initiatives, and strategies for implementing and monitoring/evaluating wellness policies.

© 2010, California School Boards Association.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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