Schools play a significant role in educating children (including youth), going far beyond reading, math, and science. Children spend a significant amount of time in school and in after-school programs interacting with students and the adults who work there. They are influenced by the messages and the behavior modeled by the students, teachers, school nurses, administrators, and others. Therefore, schools are in an unrivaled position to deliver nutrition and physical activity lessons. They provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthful eating habits and physical activity.

Schools provide many students with their most nourishing meals, and, in some instances, the only safe place to play in their neighborhoods. They provide connections to families and local businesses. In some instances, the school’s physical activity facilities may be the only recreational setting in the community. Because of these key functions for children and their families, schools are integral to addressing the childhood overweight problem. Additionally, early childhood education sites, such as day care centers, Head Start programs and home-based child care, are places where obesity prevention is important, as are colleges and universities. Both of these settings are important to consider in the future.