5091.0 School Health: An Anchor in the Healthy Communities Movement to Implement Policy, System, and Environmental Change Strategies

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM
Communities across the nation are taking action to face the challenges associated with obesity and related health consequences. Several initiatives are supporting this movement, including the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionís (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW). With a focus on community-wide environmental and policy change efforts in cities and states across the country, CPPW is creating sustainable obesity prevention initiatives through evidence-based healthy eating and active living strategies. Fundamental to CPPW and many of the other major initiatives is School Health. Schools are often the anchors in communities - they not only serve as places of learning, but also as community gathering places, safe-spaces in off-school hours, and they often add to community identity. By implementing changes in schools that put the health of our children at the forefront, we have an opportunity to create long term effects that impact obesity at younger ages while instilling the ideals of healthy nutrition and active living for life. CPPW communities are addressing health equity in school settings by increasing access to nutritious meals at school, improving systematic and environmental changes that support adequate, affordable access to healthy options purchased on school grounds, and ensuring students receive quality physical education. This session will begin with an overview of the efforts of 39 CPPW obesity prevention - focused communities and the work they are doing across the nation to mobilize communities to improve not only the health of the student and staff populations, but the community as a whole; as well as identify other initiatives that are part of this national healthy communities movement with a focus on childhood obesity. The session will then highlight the work of 4 of the CPPW communities and the jurisdiction-wide policies, systems, and environmental changes underway. Panelists will discuss their approaches to school policies, barriers, tools, and resources they have been able to utilize to make school nutrition reform, enhance the quality of physical education, create opportunities for more physical activity in the day, and to expand on the role of the school as the crux of a community-wide strategy in obesity prevention.
Session Objectives: 1. Discuss successes, barriers, and best practices for policy, systems, and environmental prevention efforts in schools to reduce childhood obesity. 2. Describe the role of health equity in developing policy changes in school districts. 3. Demonstrate the importance of policy, systems, and environmental changes in a national movement toward sustaining healthy nutrition advancements and quality physical education in schools.

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Organized by: School Health Education and Services
Endorsed by: Food and Nutrition, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)