Environment and Policies

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP)
A Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) is a multi-component approach by which school districts and schools use all opportunities for students to be physically active, meet the nationally-recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifettime. There are five components of this program:

  1. High-quality physical education
  2. Physical activtiy during the school day
  3. Physical activity before and after school
  4. Staff involvement
  5. Family and community engagement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) developed guidance for school districts and schools to develop, implement, and evaluate CSPAP.

Coordinated School Health
Coordinated School Health (CSH) is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a strategy for improving students' health and learning in our nation’s schools.
Coordinating the many parts of school health into a systematic approach can enable schools to:

  • Eliminate gaps and reduce redundancies across multiple initiatives and funding streams
  • Build partnerships and teamwork among school health and education professionals
  • Focus efforts on helping students engage in protective, health-enhancing behaviors and avoid risk behaviors

Watch a successful application of Coordinated School Health in McComb School District, SW Mississippi narrated by Dr. Pat Cooper. (Download video)

School Health Index
The School Health Index (SHI): Self-Assessment & Planning Guide is a self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health, safety policies and programs. It's easy to use and is completely confidential.

The SHI was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with school administrators and staff, school health experts, parents, and national nongovernmental health and education agencies to identify strengths and weaknesses, improve student health, and promote health-enhancing behaviors and better health.

Action for Healthy Kids
Utah Action for Healthy Kids consists of individuals and partnering organizations working together to increase physical activity and healthier nutrition within the school system. Utah Action for Healthy Kids team is currently working on providing a webinar series through the Utah PTA to promote good nutrition and wellness in the school system by increasing fruit and vegetable intake, boost physical activity, and improve school wellness policies.

American Cancer Society – School Health Councils
A school health council (SHC), sometimes called a school health advisory council, is a group of individuals who represent both the school and the community. The group acts collectively to provide advice to the school system on aspects of the school health program. The American Cancer Society participated in the development of a helpful guide on the importance of SHC’s. Promoting Healthy Youth, Schools and Communities: A Guide to Community-School Health Councils.

School Gardens
School gardens offer opportunities for fun and physical activity while also serving as an important educational tool to help students understand how healthy food in produced and where their food comes from. Some research suggests that, when used as part of a nutrition education strategy, school gardens can increase knowledge of fruits and vegetables and influence behavior change among children.

There are a number of resources available for starting a school garden, from USU Extension, Slow Food USA, California School Garden Network, and Center For Ecoliteracy
To see an example of a success story, check out The Edible Schoolyard Project.