Online Program

Impacts of school nutrition and physical activity policies on weight status among high school students

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:24 p.m. - 3:42 p.m.

Jinsook Kim, PhD, MPH, DDS, School of Health Studies, Public Health and Health Education Programs, Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, IL
BACKGROUND: Numerous nutrition and physical activity (PA) related policies have been adopted in schools in an effort to reduce childhood obesity. However, there is a dearth of evidence that these school policies have improved students' weight status. SIGNIFICANCE: The findings will fill knowledge gaps in school policy impacts on students' weight status. PURPOSE: This study examines whether and which school policies are associated with students' weight status. METHODS: The analysis uses data collected from state-representative schools and students. The state-level measures of nutrition and PA related school policies are from the 2008 School Health Profiles data (N=4,903 schools). The individual-level data include state-representative high school students (N=67,856) who participated in state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys in 2009. RESULTS: Schools had an average of 7 nutrition-related policies. Approximately 41% of schools required physical education (PE) for all grades, and 58% of high schools offered intramural sports activities. The average number of nutrition-related school policies, the percentage of schools requiring PE for all grade levels, and the percentage of schools offering sports teams or activities of a state was associated with a lower likelihood of obesity (odds ratio (OR) =0.91 per nutrition policy, OR=0.78 per 10% increase, and OR=0.42 per 10% increase, respectively), controlling for an individual's age, gender, race/ethnicity, and clustering of students in states. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that school policies reinforcing healthy diet habits, requiring PE for students of all grade levels, and providing intramural sports opportunities have a positive influence on weight status among high school students

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
List nutrition or physical activity related school policies that are effective in obesity reduction. Describe the mechanism through which nutrition or physical activity related school policies affect students’ behavior and weight status. Discuss the ways to improve measures of school policy impacts.

Keyword(s): Obesity, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct research on the influence of social environment on health behaviors and outcomes and teach health promotion and research methods at a university.
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.