New Study Shows that Combating Childhood Obesity in Schools Works

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New Study Shows that Combating Childhood Obesity in Schools Works

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation knows that we have made significant progress in creating healthier schools nationwide over the past decade because of the successes we see every day. We see healthy foodsbeing served in school cafeterias, recess being included as part of the school day, and PTAs organizing 5K fun runs instead of selling candy bars to raise funds. We see the effects these changes are having on students’ bodies and minds.

Now, as the Alliance celebrates its 10-year anniversary, a new peer-reviewed study confirms we are delivering on our mission of reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in Preventing Chronic Disease that found that the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program is linked to reductions in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among students in high-need schools. The study concluded that the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program is “an important means of supporting schools in reducing obesity.”

Effect of the Healthy Schools Program on Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in California Schools, 2006–2012 is the first peer-reviewed journal article published about the Healthy Schools Program’s impact on childhood obesity. The Program serves as an effective model for addressing childhood obesity among engaged schools. The more that schools engaged with the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, and the longer they engaged, the greater reductions they saw in student rates of obesity.

This is particularly hopeful because it shows that schools have the power not only to make sustainable healthy changes, but also that those changes have a direct positive effect on their students’ health. They simply need the right guidance and supports, such as those that the Healthy Schools Program provides, to do so.

I’m excited for our future as our Healthy Schools Program is currently working with 29,000 schools and growing. The small successes we see every day truly result in large-scale impact, ensuring that this next generation will be a healthier generation.

By Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

About the Author

Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, is a national expert on childhood obesity, having previously served as the Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation in response to the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates over the last three decades. Dr. Wechsler leads a team of more than 110 professional staff in 40 states and the District of Columbia taking action to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by making it easier for kids to be physically active and eat healthier foods.

Source publication: Medium