School-Based Nutrition & Fitness Programs

The Role of School-Based Health Centers

Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity: What SBHCs Can Do

School-based interventions are one of the most efficient ways to reduce chronic disease risks. To help SBHCs address this issue, the California School-Based Health Alliance developed a fact sheet, Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity. It describes model program components, staffing, keys to success, and evaluation measures, as well as profiles of eight innovative programs addressing the health needs of students all over California in fun and creative ways.

The California School-Based Health Alliance has also developed the H.E.L.P. (Healthy Eating, Learning and Playing) at School multimedia toolkit.

Nutrition & Fitness Resources

California Power Play! Campaign Resources

The California Power Play! Campaign provides a variety of resources to help educate, motivate, and empower 9- to 11- year-old children to eat fruits and vegetables and be physically active. The materials are research-based, educator-friendly, and appealing to children.

Changing Lives, Saving Lives

Changing Lives, Saving Lives: A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Exemplary Practices in Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Food Security in Afterschool Programs is available from After School Solutions’ Healthy Behaviors Initiative. The guide is designed to help afterschool programs and their community and educational partners in systematically and intentionally strengthening their nutrition, physical activity and food security practices.

Establishing School-Based Best Practices in Nutrition and Physical Activity

Criteria for Evaluating School-Based Approaches to Increasing Good Nutrition and Physical Activity is a comprehensive tool for evaluating school-based approaches to increasing children’s physical activity and improving nutrition. The criteria were developed by Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) in response to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. The report is intended for use by policymakers, educators, researchers, and others. An Executive Summary of the report is also available.

Food on the Run: Lessons from a Youth Nutrition and Physical Activity Campaign

Food on the Run describes how this California-based project mobilized youth advocates to promote healthy eating and physical activity. It outlines how to implement a nutrition and physical activity youth advocacy program. Plus it provides educational materials for youth and adolescents, including lesson plans, academic achievement facts, public service announcements, and tip sheets.

Jump Start Teens

Jump Start Teens is an interactive cross-curricular lesson-kit for high school teachers and school nutrition staff. Lessons, worksheets, and stand-alone activities support team building among teachers, coaches and nutritional staff, as well as parents, local business, and the greater community.

Planet Health—A Health Education Program for School Children

Focused on improving diet and fitness, the Planet Health curriculum incorporates health education into middle school language arts, math, science, social studies, and physical education classes. The innovative curriculum was developed by the Harvard School of Public Health and has been shown to reduce obesity and television viewing time and to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Planet Health is available for purchase.

Taking Action for Healthy School Environments:
Linking Education, Activity, and Food in California Secondary Schools

Through case studies featuring 18 California school districtsTaking Action for Healthy School Environments illustrates promising practices and provides recommendations for improving student health and thus academic potential through policy action and environmental change in the following four areas: 1) adopt local school wellness policies that institutionalize links between education, physical activity, and food; 2) increase nutrition education opportunities for students; 3) increase physical activity for students and the community; and 4) implement nutrition standards for all food and beverages offered at school.

Video Workshops: Successful Students through Healthy Food and Fitness Policies

California Project LEAN has put together a series of free, online videos that demonstrate how schools can have an even greater impact on the health, wellness, and success of all students. In addition to an introductory video, there are videos covering: 1) the implementation of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in PE; 2) physical activity during the school day; 3) safe routes to school; 4) joint use of school facilities; and 5) increasing consumption of healthy beverages.

Nutrition Resources

The Dairy Council of California’s is an online resource center for teaching healthy lifestyle habits. features four 30-minute Parent Toolkit Presentations designed in partnership with the California PTA that provide all the tools that you need to conduct a parent workshop. Other features include: nutrition plan tool Healthy Eating My Wayfree nutrition education booklets available in English and Spanish; online learning games for kids; a workplace wellness online toolkit; tip sheets for adults, parents, and children available in both English and Spanish; the latest nutrition information and trends, as well as white papersnewsletters and professional development opportunities.

School Food and Beverage Marketing Assessment Tool

This tool can be used to assess food and beverage marketing on school campuses, providing results that are useful to health professionals and educators concerned with children’s health and the types of food messages in schools.

Breakfast and the Achievement Gap Among Urban Minority Youth

This article, Healthier Students Are Better Learners by Charles E. Basch, includes a chapter on how lowered rates of breakfast eating among urban minority youth contribute to the achievement gap. It highlights the extent of the problem and outlines ways schools can help to prevent and address it.

Fitness Resources

Physical Education: Age Appropriate Practices for Schools

The National Association of School Physical Education has created booklets outlining Appropriate Practices for Preschool, Elementary, Middle, and High School. They include guidelines for designing curricula and learning experiences, suggested fitness activities, strategies for effective assessment, and best practices on forming groups, maximizing participation, and the appropriate incorporation of competition.

SPARK – School-Based Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids

Dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of physical activity for children and teachers, SPARK creates, implements, and evaluates programs that promote lifelong wellness. The SPARK program offers six evaluated curricula available to engage students in developmentally appropriate physical activity. They provide schools and agencies with curriculum, training, on-going support, and equipment.

Physical Activity and the Achievement Gap Among Urban Minority Youth

This article, by Charles E. Basch, describes how low rates of physical activity among urban minority youth contribute to the achievement gap. It highlights the extent of the problem and outlines ways schools can help to prevent and address it. (The article is part of a series titled Healthier Students Are Better Learners, published as a special edition of the Journal of School Health and available for free online.)

Urban PE

This Facebook group, from the National Association for Sport and Physical Activity, encourages urban PE leaders and educators across the nation to identify and discover innovative, meaningful strategies for improving quality physical education in urban areas, and enable positive change through sharing, collaboration, and networking. PE teachers, physical education supervisors and coordinators, decision-makers, stakeholders, and community leaders who support urban physical education are invited to contribute to this group!