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Resources — Nutrition

Action for Healthy Kids

Action for Healthy Kids is the only nonprofit organization formed specifically to address the epidemic of overweight, undernourished and sedentary youth by focusing on changes at school. Action for Healthy Kids state teams work in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to improve children's nutrition and increase physical activity, which will in turn improve their readiness to learn.   This website contains updates on the state teams' respective efforts, tools and resources to assist in local wellness policy development, and offers downloadable, pdf versions of Action for Healthy Kids special reports.

American Dietetic Association

American Dietetic Association has collaborated with WellPoint Health Networks to produce a print and web-based guide for parents that provides practical strategies for engaging the entire family in healthy eating and physical activity. Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids tells parents where to start and what they can do at home to help their children eat healthier and become more physically active. It talks about the important role of family, realistic goals, nutrition and physical activity. The recommendations in this guide are targeted toward healthy weight for children ages 4-12.  

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to fight one of our nation's leading health threats - childhood obesity.   The Alliance's Healthy Schools Program provides resources and support for schools to become healthier places for staff and students. The program strives to: increase opportunities for students to exercise and play; put healthy foods and beverages in vending machines and cafeterias; and increase resources for teachers and staff to become healthy role models schools participating in the program receive:

  • Tools - Action plans, media kits, ways to create community buy-in
  • Support - Phone hotline, online tools, e-assistance, trainings
  • Business Assistance - Deals and packages with food and fitness companies
  • Promising Practices - Success stories and collaboration with other schools
  • National Recognition - Alliance recognition online and in print

Changing the Scene-Improving the School Nutrition Environment

Changing the Scene - Improving the School Nutrition Environment was created by the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS). This tool kit is designed to help parents, teachers, school administrators, school foodservice professionals, and the community promote healthy eating and physical activity by addressing nutrition environment issues in schools. This kit can help local people take action to improve their school's nutrition environment. The kit includes a guide to local action with ideas on how to strengthen school nutrition environment, and a variety of resource materials

CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity

CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity takes a public health approach to address the role of nutrition and physical activity in improving the public's health and preventing and controlling chronic diseases. This site provides a wealth of resources on nutrition and physical activity. It provides information on several of CDC's campaigns that address healthy eating and physical fitness including the 5 A Day Program and the Powerful Girls Powerful Bones program.

Competitive Foods and Beverages Available for Purchase in Secondary Schools--Selected Sites, United States, 2004

To identify the types of competitive foods and beverages available for purchase from school vending machines or at school stores, canteens, or snack bars, CDC analyzed data from the 2004 School Health Profiles for public secondary schools in 27 states and 11 large urban school districts. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, in 2004, the majority of secondary schools allowed students to purchase snack foods or beverages from vending machines or at the school store, canteen, or snack bar. To help improve dietary behavior and reduce overweight among youths, CDC recommends that school offer appealing and nutritious foods in snack bars and vending machines and discouraging sale of foods high in fat, sodium, and added sugars on school grounds or as part of fund-raising activities.

Competitive Foods In Schools: Child Nutrition Policy Brief

The United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines competitive foods as food items that are offered in schools other than meals served through USDA's School Meal Programs -school lunch, school breakfast, and school after lunch snacks.   Competitive foods include food sold through bake sales, and food and beverages contained in vending machines. This fact sheet created by the Food Research & Action Center offers a comprehensive overview on the issues associated with the availability of competitive foods in schools.   Information is also provided on the rates of overweight and physical activity among youth as well as the importance of a healthy school nutrition environment.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans [Dietary Guidelines] provides science-based advice to promote health and to reduce risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity. Major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States are related to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Some specific diseases linked to poor diet and physical inactivity include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. The intent of the Dietary Guidelines is to summarize and synthesize knowledge regarding individual nutrients and food components into recommendations for a pattern of eating that can be adopted by the public

Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn

The National Association of State Boards of Education's (NASBE's) Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn is series of publications created to assist state and local school policymakers in creating school health policies.   Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn is organized around sample policies that reflect best practices, which can be adapted to fit local circumstances. The sample policies are written as statements of best practice that all states, school districts, public schools, and private schools should endeavor to adopt. School health topics covered in the sample policies cover most school health topics including, tobacco use, physical activity, and healthy eating.   The points addressed in the policies were suggested by the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, actual state and local policies collected by the NASBE and the National School Boards Association.

Healthy Food Policy Resource Guide, California School Boards Association and California Project LEAN

The California School Boards Association and California Project LEAN have developed a new Student Wellness: A Healthy Food and Physical Activity Policy Resource Guide for school governance leaders. It was created based on feedback from school board members and superintendents. The Guide provides school governance leaders with a step-by-step approach to enhance the school environment so students can develop and practice healthy eating habits. The Guide outlines the link between nutrition, physical activity and learning; addresses the health status of children and youth; highlights school districts that successfully offer healthy foods and beverages; offers recommendations for a comprehensive nutrition and physical activity policy; and provides sample policies and resources.

Institute of Medicine's: Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth

The Institute of Medicine's Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth has released several studies and reports: assessing the nature of childhood obesity in the United States and the nation's response to address the issue.     For each report the Committee considered local, environmental, medical, dietary, and other factors responsible for the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity as it identified promising methods for prevention and suggests research opportunities. The reports include: Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up? , which examines the progress made by obesity prevention initiatives in the United States over the past two years. The report builds on the IOM's 2005 report, Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance , which was a congressionally mandated study that provided a blueprint to guide concerted actions for many stakeholders--including government, industry, media, communities, schools, and families--to collectively respond to the growing obesity epidemic in children and youth.  To extend the reach and impact of the Health in the Balance report, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation requested in 2005 that the IOM convene an expert committee to examine the nation's progress in addressing obesity in children and youth. This report, Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up? p resents the committee's conclusions and recommendations. The report emphasizes a call to action for key stakeholders and sectors to lead and commit to childhood obesity prevention, evaluate all policies and programs, monitor their progress, and widely disseminate promising practices.

Making It Happen!   School Nutrition Success Stories

Making it Happen! is a joint project of USDA's Team Nutrition and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Division of Adolescent and School Health and is supported by the Department of Education. It was undertaken as part of the Healthier US initiative. This resource shares stories from 32 schools and school districts that have made innovative changes to improve the nutritional quality of all foods and beverages offered and sold on school campuses. These success stories illustrate the wide variety of approaches used to improve student nutrition. The most consistent theme emerging from these case studies is that students will buy and consume healthful foods and beverages, and schools can make money from healthful options. Making It Happen! includes a variety of materials developed by some of the schools and contact information for each story.

School Foods Tool Kit, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Parents, teachers, school administrators, elected officials and others in small and large communities across the country have been successful at improving the nutritional quality of foods and beverages in their local schools. The School Foods Tool Kit is designed to assist key stakeholders in improving the nutritional quality of the foods and beverages that kids eat and drink at school.   The Kit can be downloaded on-line at no cost.   The Center for Science in the Public Interest also provides policy resources that promote nutrition and physical activity in school.   Foods Sold in Competition with USDA School Meal Programs (a report to Congress), U.S. Department of Agriculture can be downloaded as well.

School Nutrition Association

The School Nutrition Association works to ensure all children have access to healthful school meals and nutrition education. This website offers comprehensive information on child and school nutrition as well as background information on the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Programs, and Special Milk Program. This site also provides information about local wellness policies that can be helpful to school districts creating or revising district wide policies.

USDA's Team Nutrition

Team Nutrition is an initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS) to support Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity. A variety of resources for schools, parents, and communities are contained on this website including: MyPyramid , the new food pyramid; the Healthier US School Challenge ; and key publications on building and sustaining healthy school nutrition environments.   In addition, State Competitive Food Policies can be downloaded by visiting this site.

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