Local Wellness Policies had a minimal impact on practices regarding physical activity in 45 rural Colorado elementary schools. The United States required every school district participating in the National School Lunch Program to create a Local Wellness Policy (LWP) by June 2006, with the intent of increasing opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. This study is one of the first to assess the efficacy of this unfunded federal mandate, and is part of a supplement to the Journal of Public Health Policy reporting on the 2008 Active Living Research Conference.
To assess the changes in school practices and in the amount of physical activity before and after implementation of an LWP, different questionnaires were given to school principals, food service managers, and physical education teachers, respectively. The study also used a coding methodology to assess Local Wellness Policies in 32 districts for comprehensiveness and strength of language (i.e., whether the policy language was specific, and used words like "require" rather than "encourage"). Study leaders also interviewed principals and district-level personnel in 13 schools to determine barriers to implementation of LWPs.
- After implementation of an LWP, the time spent in physical education (PE) increased by 14 minutes per week, but time spent in recess decreased by 19 minutes per week, a net decrease in physical activity of five minutes per week.
- There was no increase in the number of principals who required students be allowed to participate in PE and recess despite their bad behavior or performance.
- Unexpectedly, students in districts with LWPs that did not mention the length or frequency of PE or recess spent more time in those activities than students in districts with LWPs that addressed the quantity of PE or recess time.
- On average, the districts' LWPs addressed fewer than half the assessed topics.
- The wording of the model LWP provided by the Colorado Association of School Boards contained strong wording in only 19 of 96 assessed items; similarly, the wording of the LWPs in the studied districts was weak in all dimensions.
- Districts cited numerous reasons for low implementation of their LWP, including: competing pressures from "No Child Left Behind" and other policy directives; lack of resources; and lack of accountability.
The study's small sample size limited the assessment of its statistical significance. The authors call for stronger language in the model policies, and additional research to identify successful strategies—such as reliance on a local "champion"—to overcome barriers to compliance with the mandate for increased physical activity.
- 1 Translating Research into Public Policy
- 2 Can We Achieve Evidence-Based Policy and Practice on Active Travel?
- 3 Where Different Worlds Collide
- 4 Factors Associated with Federal Transportation Funding for Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Programming and Facilities
- 5 Transit and Health: Mode of Transport, Employer-Sponsored Public Transit Pass Programs, and Physical Activity
- 6 Effect of Innovative Building Design on Physical Activity
- 7 Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003 to Reduce Childhood Obesity
- 8 Early Impact of the Federally Mandated Local Wellness Policy on Physical Activity in Rural, Low-Income Elementary Schools in Colorado
- 9 Preventing Childhood Obesity through State Policy
- 10 Correlates of Walking to School and Implications for Public Policies
- 11 Sociodemographic, Family, and Environmental Factors Associated with Active Commuting to School Among US Adolescents
- 12 Implementation of Texas Senate Bill 19 to Increase Physical Activity in Elementary Schools
- 13 Disparities in Urban Neighborhood Conditions
- 14 Disparities in Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors Among US Children and Adolescents
Mildred Dalton Manning, the last surviving member of a group of U.S. Army and Navy nurses taken prisoner in the Philippines at the start of ...
Learn how to improve care transitions and prevent avoidable hospital readmissions, and pick up nursing and medical education con-ed credits.
Join the Commission on June 19, 2013 for a public meeting to raise awareness of how non-medical factors influence health and move public- an...
The reconvened Commission to Build a Healthier America will provide new guidance in two key areas: early childhood and healthy communities.
"We often see the benefits of diversity as being for minorities," Angela Amar writes. "We seldom see that the majority benefits as well."
By “practicing” with medical simulation and by interacting with culturally diverse standardized patients, students and residents can develop...
Cure Violence, formerly known as CeaseFire, is a national public health strategy that reduces gun shootings and killings.
The strange pull of this series is its humanity, not its horrors.
Legislation Would Dramatically Expand FDA’s Oversight of Compounding Pharmacies - Study: Diners Dramatically Underestimate Calories in Fast ...
The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize honors outstanding community partnerships which are helping people live healthier lives. The six winners w...
Team members, grantees, and guests discuss breakthrough ideas that will allow us to move toward solving challenges in health care.
This is the agenda for the June 19, 2013 RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America public meeting.