National study of school district policies and elementary school practices addressing childhood obesity

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that all schools receiving federal funding for school breakfast and lunch programs must implement wellness policies by the start of the 2006-2007 school year. These policies address both physical activity and nutrition. At the same time, public health professionals are promoting environmental and policy interventions to combat the growing prevalence of childhood obesity. Neither: (1) the quality and characteristics of these school policies; (2) the extent to which they are being implemented as written; or (3) whether the policies and practices differ by such school district characteristics as student socioeconomic and demographic profiles, community characteristics or school district finances has been documented adequately. The purpose of this project is to collect and report comprehensive information on food environments and physical activity in a nationally representative sample of elementary (K-5) schools, as well as on those schools' district-level wellness and other policies that potentially have an impact on children's obesity in those districts. The researchers will use the data to examine the associations between policies and practices at the school level and district- and state-level policies, school finances and school and community characteristics. The findings will help to inform the Foundation's Childhood Obesity strategies to monitor progress and problems, identify challenges and opportunities that Foundation initiatives might address, and monitor in particular the school districts with low-income children and racial or ethnic populations that are most affected by the obesity epidemic. The researchers will design an elementary school administrator survey; develop two databases of: (1) school-level policies, programs and practices, and (2) district-level policies related to childhood obesity; design a rating system of policies; and produce summary analyses of their findings.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $855,541.00

Awarded on: 2/26/2007

Time frame: 2/15/2007 - 10/31/2008

Grant Number: 59266


University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Health Research and Policy

Westside Research Office Building, 5th Floor M/C 275
1747 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, 60608-1264


Frank Joseph Chaloupka
Project Director