School Health Guidelines

School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
CDC synthesized research and best practices related to promoting healthy eating and physical activity in schools, culminating in nine guidelines

Presentation Materials

School Health Tools

Select Tools and Resources for Schools: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity [PDF - 707 KB]
A list of CDC resources available encompassing nutrition, physical activity and obesity

School Health Index 
A self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs

Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)
Helps school districts, schools, and others conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and CDC’s Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula


Nutrition, General

Fruits & Vegetables Galore
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service provides tips on planning, purchasing, preparing, presenting, and promoting fruits and vegetables along with suggestions for working with teachers

Choose My
Resources from the USDA to help people assess how much to eat of each food group


Competitive Foods & School Nutrition Environment

Competitive Foods In Schools 
CDC guidance and resources about nutrition standards for foods offered in competition with federally reimbursable meals and snacks

Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Schools: Financial Implications [PDF - 1.9 MB]
Outlines the evidence-based, financial implications of schools that have implemented strong nutrition standards to address childhood obesity

Making It Happen! School Nutrition Success Stories
Tells the stories of schools and districts that have used innovative strategies to improve the nutritional quality of foods and beverages sold outside of federal meal programs

HealthierUS School Challenge
A voluntary initiative to recognize schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity

Changing the Scene: Improving the School Nutrition Environment
USDA’s Team Nutrition assists parents, school administrators, teachers, school food service employees, and others to examine and improve their school's nutrition environment

School Food Focus
A national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced


School Meal Programs

School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children
Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for school meals

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
Information to help implement salad bars in schools

Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs: Guidance for School Food Service Staff [PDF - 849 KB]

Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs

Farm to School

National Food Service Management Institute
Training and resources on effective equipment-purchasing guidance and financial management practices for school nutrition programs


Water and Other Beverages

Increasing Access to Drinking Water in Schools [PDF - 150 KB]
CDC’s tool kit includes background information, needs assessment tools, implementation strategies, and evaluation guidance to provide students with access to drinking water as part of a healthy nutrition environment.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Putting the Act into Action “Strategies for Success: Making the Most of the New School Water and Milk Requirements"
A webinar on how to implement federal water and milk requirements for the National School Lunch Program

Rethink Your Drink [PDF - 514 KB]
Calorie information for drinks

Drinking Water in Schools & Child Care Facilities
EPA's information about drinking water quality

Water in Schools
Information on current requirements and suggestions for how to make free drinking water available in schools

Drinking Water Best Management Practices: For Schools and Child Care Facilities With Their Own Drinking Water Source [PDF - 1 MB]
EPA’s guide for schools and child care facilities with their own well and classified as a public water system.

Drinking Water Best Management Practices: For Schools and Child Care Facilities Served by Municipal Water Systems [PDF - 1 MB]
EPA’s guide for schools and child care facilities receiving water from water utilities or water suppliers such as cities, towns and water districts.


Physical Education

Strategies to Improve the Quality of Physical Education [PDF - 598 KB]
Outlines key strategies for increasing the amount of time that students are engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity while in physical education class

The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance [PDF - 2.5 MB] (Full report) Executive Summary [PDF - 309 KB]
CDC literature review indicates that physical activity can have positive effects on students’ grades and test scores

Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool 
Tool that helps schools and school districts conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of written physical education curricula, based upon national physical education standards


Physical Activity

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools 
CDC’s guide to help schools implement comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP), including physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Science-based guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help Americans aged 6 years and older improve their health through physical activity

Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit 
Highlights strategies that schools, families, and communities can use to support youth physical activity

Promoting Physical Activity: A Guide for Community Action
Guides users through a step-by-step process to address the target population's understanding and skills, the social networks, the physical environments in which they live and work, and the policies that most influence their actions

"VERB. It’s what you do."
VERB was a national, multicultural, social marketing campaign designed to encourage young people ages 9–13 years to be physically active every day

National Safe Routes to School
Assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school

National Physical Activity Plan
A comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives that aim to increase physical activity in all segments of the American population

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition
Promotes a healthy lifestyle through fitness, sports, and nutrition programs and initiatives that educate, empower, and engage Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities


Overweight & Obesity

Make a Difference at Your School: Key Strategies to Prevent Obesity [PDF - 1.7 MB]
Outlines 10 evidence-based strategies for schools to implement in addressing childhood obesity

The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010 [PDF - 840 KB]
Proposes obesity-prevention actions for schools, child care settings, workplaces, and communities

Research Tested Intervention Programs
A scoring process for comprehensive school-based programs focused on healthy eating and physical activity

Let’s Move
Federal initiative dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation

Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active!
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development helps young people ages 11–13 become aware of how media may influence the choices they make

Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program
Tools and strategies to promote physical activity and healthy eating before, during, and after school


Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools: Executive Summary [PDF - 2.2 MB]
Full journal article [PDF - 240 KB]
Describes the purpose of school-based body mass index (BMI) surveillance and screening programs, examines current practices, and reviews research on BMI measurement programs

Body Mass Index (BMI) Measurement in Schools

Child and Teen BMI Calculator
Provides BMI and the corresponding BMI-for-age percentile on a CDC BMI-for-age growth chart for children and teens aged 2–19 years

Children's BMI Tool for Schools
Calculation tool for school, child care, and other professionals who want to compute BMI-for-age for a group of up to 2,000 children, such as for a school classroom or grade



School-Based Obesity Prevention Strategies for State Policymakers [PDF - 149 KB]
Describes physical activity and healthy eating strategies undertaken by states that have shown promise in helping schools address and prevent childhood obesity

Local Wellness School Policy 
Provides links to tools and resources for schools to assist with the development of local wellness policies in accordance with federal law

Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (C.L.A.S.S.)
A scoring system for state-level codified laws for physical education and nutrition in schools

Water Access in Schools Model Wellness Policy Language
Guidance for developing policies and best practices to increase access to free drinking water in schools


After School

Helping Moms and Kids Make Healthier Food Choices
Food and Drug Administration and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service