Table Of Contents
Along with identifying the current limitations, Advisory Group members drew on their direct experience in the field, leading, implementing and evaluating successful programs to identify some of the strategies and solutions to overcome existing barriers. Those strategies range from the individual school measures to national and local policy changes:
- Increase and facilitate family involvement.
- Professional development or incentives for school staff to continue learning. One way of accomplishing this is changing the spectrum of mandated classes to include health and wellness.
- Teach how to shop and cook in a way that is experiential and creative, and that would make good food choices healthy, affordable, accessible and delicious.
- Create blueprint for revolution of thought, that is, to facilitate the radical change that is needed.
- Incorporate health and wellness into training programs for new teachers, dietitians, etc. Certify teachers with food system education as a requirement of their teacher's certification.
- Engage school food service in process and dialogue from the beginning.
- Support and promote health and wellness of school staff. Develop worksite wellness programs.
- Engage insurance companies by making the business case for the improvement of the health and wellness of school staff.
- Develop new models for decision making structures (e.g. how food service is overseen and by whom)
- Look for unlikely partners (e.g., military)
- Educate community about affordability of growing food.
- Create production infrastructure - network of farms and new farmers.
- Develop community infrastructure and mechanisms to support local food procurement. Consolidation of distribution has been a successful strategy.
There were also several policy recommendations:
- Wellness policies are in compliance with and support the HealthierUS School Challenge
- Wellness policies have teeth - with real impact and measurable steps
- States collect, rate and post wellness policies online (e.g., WELL-SAT)
- School districts should have brief, family-friendly documents explaining wellness policy
- Wellness policies should be integrated into school improvement plans
- Model wellness policies should be collected and disseminated - these should allow for local flexibility and variations in state law
- Provide suggestions or models of how to give school wellness teams real authority
- Make recommendations about food service training and certification
- Integrate wellness into national education policy
- Recommend easy to learn/implement professional development program for teachers to integrate physical activity into the classroom
- Prioritize student involvement and decision making at all levels
- Improve ways of disseminating/sharing information, taking into account the digital divide.
- Provide easy to understand/implement rules for growing food in school gardens and serving that food in the cafeteria
The Advisory Group made recommendations for the various areas of the HealthierUS School Challenge.
Food available in the cafeteria
- Technical assistance and support for chefs
- Family engagement in menu planning
- Non-corporate sources for information, technical assistance and funding
- Food service training that focuses on whole foods, culturally specific recipes and customer service
- Connection between new nutrition requirements/standards and USDA Foods
- Guidelines for serving school garden-grown food in schools
Other food available in schools
(Competitive foods, school-based fundraisers, rewards)
- Access to water throughout the school day
- Physical activity integrated into classroom curriculum (with training for teachers as part of professional development)
- School gardening counted as physical activity
- Share existing models
- Create standards and ways of making this a shared value within a school
- Create effective marketing strategies that use social media and connect to Let's Move
- Address length of the school day to gain time for more PE
- Incorporate nutrition education to the curriculum in various ways, including weaving it into other subjects, such as sciences, reading, social sciences, etc.