School-based health centers (SBHCs) deliver both clinical and non-clinical services to improve healthy eating and active living, reduce overweight and obesity, and prevent and manage chronic conditions such as type II diabetes.
SBHCs help increase the number of students exposed to programs and activities that encourage healthy eating and active living and can provide added benefit in the against childhood obesity. Recent research shows that adolescent SBHC users get more physical activity and eat more healthy foods than do SBHC non-users.1
Resources for SBHCs and Staff
- Addressing Diabetes Factors in Elementary School Children Through School and Community Partnerships: A collaboration between the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium and the School-Based Health Alliance.
- Understanding Hunger and Obesity and the Role for School-Based Health Care: Created by the American Public Health Association’s Center for School, Health and Education
- Building a Healthier Future: Explore interactives with the latest data, find expert insights about policies and programs that can help kids grow up healthy, and read stories about communities taking action to prevent obesity.
- USDA Team Nutrition: Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the child nutrition programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.
- Expanding Nutrition Education Programs in New York City Elementary Schools: The Center cultivates research about connections between a just, sustainable food system and healthy eating and translates it into recommendations and resources for educators, policy makers, and community advocates.
- Summary of Research on Obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education and Nutrition on Academic Outcomes in School Children: From the NY State Department of Health
- Action for Healthy Kids: Resources for Schools
- Physical Education: Age Appropriate Practices for Schools: The National Association of School Physical Education has created booklets outlining Appropriate Practices for Preschool, Elementary, Middle, and High School. They include guidelines for designing curricula and learning experiences, suggested fitness activities, strategies for effective assessment, and best practices on forming groups, maximizing participation, and the appropriate incorporation of competition.
Resources for Students
- Coalition for Healthy School Food Students Section
- A Children’s Guide to Eating Healthy – 6 Things You Need to Know
- Student Health and Wellness Guide: Including nutrition, fitness, sleep, and apps to download
- USDA’s Digital Nutrition Resources for Kids: Including games, readings, learning modules, recipes, activities and videos
- SuperKids Nutrition
Resources for Parents/Caregivers
- Tips for Helping Kids Eat More Fruits and Vegetables (English/Spanish)
- Eating Healthy In Our Neighborhoods (English/Spanish)
- Promoting Physical Activity (English/Spanish)
- Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables: Encourages persons who receive or are eligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to eat more fruits and vegetables and become more physically active by offering nutrition workshops, cooking demonstrations and other educational activities at food pantries, shelters, farmers’ markets, and other community settings
Literature on SBHCs and Nutrition
For a full database on published literature related to School-based health centers and Nutrition visit the SBHC Literature Database built by the National School-Based Health Alliance. Below are some papers we believe highlight the important role of SBHCs in building nutrition and fitness knowledge among students
The Impact of School-Based Health Centers on the Health Outcomes of Middle School and High School Students
Objective: To study the direct and indirect effects of school-based health centers (SBHCs) on the health and health behaviors of middle and high school students.
Finding: After 2 years, users of SBHCs experienced greater satisfaction with their health, more physical activity, and greater consumption of healthy food than did nonusers of SBHCs. These findings indicate that SBHCs are achieving their goal of promoting children’s health.
Identification and Assessment of Childhood Obesity by School-Based Health Center Providers
Objective: This descriptive study evaluates obesity care assessment practices of school-based health center (SBHC) providers prior to completing training on obesity guidelines from SBHCs in six states (AZ, CO, NM, MI, NY, and NC).
Finding: Most providers reported using body mass index percentile (93.9%) to assess weight. In caring for overweight/obese children, providers reported screening for hypertension 100% of the time and cardiovascular disease 93.9% of the time, and approximately two thirds reported requesting total cholesterol and lipid profile laboratory assessments. Some assessment guidelines were not routinely followed. SBHCs serve a high-risk population, and providers in this study may benefit from additional training on assessment guidelines and quality improvement processes to improve adherence to current guidelines.
School-based Health Center-Based Treatment for Obese Adolescents: Feasibility and Body Mass Index Effects
Finding: Results found that, in an SBHC setting, this intervention was successful with recruitment and retention. Nearly 100% of students in both groups received recommended preventive services, compared with 40% of participants at baseline. The intervention reached a subset of students with high morbidity, including severe obesity in 20% of participants. However, the addition of an HE did not lead to improved BMI outcomes in the intervention group. Mental health issues were present in 14% of the entire cohort, with no difference between the IG and CG in prevalence of mental health concerns, although additional unidentified factors, including sports participation, may have contributed to improved BMI outcomes in the control group.