177285 Partners in Children's Health: Engaging Parents in School Wellness Policies

Monday, October 27, 2008: 10:30 AM

Peggy Agron, MS, RD , California Project LEAN, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Victoria Berends, BS , California Project LEAN, Public Health Institute, Sacramento, CA
Nestor Martinez Martinez, MPH, RD , California Project LEAN, California Dept. of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Katherine Hawksworth, MPH, CHES , California Project LEAN, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Grace Huppert, MS, RD, CDE , California Project LEAN, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Cyndi Guerra-Walter, BA , California Project LEAN, Public Health Institute, Sacramento, CA
The landscape of the school food and physical activity environment is poised for positive change. In response to the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, school districts across the state have passed wellness policies to address the proliferation of high fat, high sugar foods, and increase the physical activity level of their students. The federal mandate required districts to develop these policies with parents, school personnel, students, and community members. In order to successfully implement the policies, and ensure children have access to healthy foods and physical activity, more parents must be engaged in the process. Parents can be effective allies if they are empowered to work with schools to ensure children have optimum health for learning. To better understand how to support parent efforts to improve the school environment, California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity & Nutrition), conducted formative research with parents and stakeholders, including a literature review, key informant interviews, online surveys and strategy sessions. CPL also created tools and trainings to give parents the skills and resources needed to get involved in implementing school wellness policies and to advocate and be proactive when changes on school campuses are not occurring.

This session will highlight effective strategies, communication tools and resources for engaging parents in school wellness policy efforts. Also to be discussed will be how to overcome barriers to involvement and the types of activities parents would be interested in working on to help ensure policies are implemented. Local examples of how parents have been involved in policies will be shared.

Learning Objectives:
-Identify key resources for engaging parents in school wellness policy efforts -Describe key strategies and communication vehicles for successfully engaging parents -Share a tool kit to help educate and get parents involved in school wellness policy activities

Keywords: School Health, Partner Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Peggy Agron, M.A., R.D. received her degree from University California, Long Beach. She oversees California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition), the California Obesity Prevention Initiative and School Health Connections at the California Department of Public Health. She is a recognized expert on school nutrition and physical activity policy. Project LEAN is part of the technical assistance team for the California Endowment’s Healthy Eating Active Communities and Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living initiatives providing TA on engaging policymakers, youth and parents. In 2004 Project LEAN received an Innovation in Prevention Award, part of the national initiative, Steps to a Healthier US. The award recognized their effort to educate school decision-makers on the importance of nutrition policies. This project used formative research to develop meaningful message and materials targeting policymakers. Project LEAN has developed tools that address the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages on school campuses, the development and implementation of school wellness policies, and youth/parent engagement. Peggy is a steering committee member of the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Physical Activity Environments and the California Action for Healthy Kids Coalition. She oversaw the research plan for this project and the trainings and tool kit.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.