Administrators LEAD & MANAGE MY SCHOOL
Healthy Students, Promising Futures
State and Local Action Steps and Practices to Improve School-Based Health

High-Impact Opportunity #4
Promote Healthy School Practices Through Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Health Education.


School learning environments should be designed to promote and reinforce health and well-being, including opportunities for, and access to, daily physical activity, high-quality, nutritious school food, and rigorous and effective nutrition and health education.

Research Shows

Increased physical activity and access to nutritious food throughout the school day can improve student learning and academic and health outcomes. In addition, research has shown comprehensive health education decreases tobacco use, alcohol use, and other delinquent behaviors.


Schools can assess their policies and practices by completing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's School Health Index and implementing strategies found in the School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity.

Schools can sign up to be a school champion through the Let's Move! Active Schools initiative, and use the Let's Move! Active Schools assessment tool to identify and address physical activity and physical education programming needs.

LEAs can also support healthy environments for all children by developing strong Local School Wellness Policies that are deeply integrated into individual school improvement plans.

LEAs and schools can support effective health education for all students by utilizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to determine how to improve the alignment of existing health education courses with the National Health Education Standards and CDC's Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum.


The Jennings School District in Missouri used the Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT) to assess and revise its wellness policy to include, goals for increasing physical education and physical activity, as well as increasing access to fruits and vegetables. The district hired a full-time health and wellness coordinator who helped develop and implement a robust physical education curriculum. As a result, teachers reported that students were less disruptive and less likely to engage in inappropriate behavior because they were busy participating in inclusive, active, and fun activities. The wellness coordinator also chaired a cross-agency, multi-partner committee that helped create a community garden at an elementary school to provide hands-on education in healthy food practices. Learn more about the WellSAT at


  1. Dent, C.W. et al. (1995). Two-Year Behavior Outcomes of Project Toward No Tobacco Use. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(4), 676-677.

    Previous set of pages  4 | 5 | 6 Next set of pages
Last Modified: 07/26/2016