Best Practices


According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an estimated 15 percent of U.S. children and adolescents, aged 6 to 19, are overweight. Childhood obesity and overweight are on the rise, while diet quality is poor and physical activity levels are insufficient. Due to budget and curriculum pressures, physical education programs have declined in public schools. It is estimated that only 50 percent of U.S. elementary and middle schools, and 20 percent of high schools, provide physical education programs.


In 2001, 49 percent of Colorado adolescents in grades 9 -12 did not participate in physical education classes. Although Colorado does have statewide standards for physical education, it is one of only two states that does not mandate physical education.


According to studies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, consumption of high-calorie, high-fat foods and beverages is on the rise. Other on-campus food such as a la carte food, school stores, and drinks from the cafeteria or vending machines, do not have to meet the National School Lunch Program guidelines for dietary requirements. Children also are spending more time on sedentary activities, including television viewing and computer games. These factors compromise children's ability to achieve their full educational potential, and increase their risk for being overweight and obese


Background Documents


Recommended Strategies for Schools

  • Build awareness and encourage positive role modeling among administrators, teachers, food service staff, coaches, nurses, parents, students, school staff, and community leaders about the contribution of proper nutrition to the maintenance of lifelong healthy weight.
  • Develop and implement policies ensuring that all foods and beverages available on school campuses, and at school events, contribute toward eating patterns that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.


Recommended Strategies for Communities

  • Develop, support, and advocate for individual health through better nutrition.
  • Provide caregivers with resources to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors for their families.
  • Encourage healthcare providers to educate patients, staff, and colleagues about the importance of physical activity and healthful food choices


Related Colorado Programs


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