The vast majority of parents want schools to limit students’ access to high-calorie chips, sodas and candy and to offer children opportunities for physical activity throughout the day, a new survey by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation shows. The national survey signals the breadth of parents’ support for changes to make schools healthier places—and their willingness to help make those changes happen. In fact, nearly eight in 10 parents are ready to get more involved to create a healthier environment in their local schools.
Conducted for the Alliance by KRC Research, the survey found that more than 92 percent of parents consider physical education and health education as important as English, math and science instruction. Furthermore, 96 percent of parents believe that physical activity can boost their children’s classroom performance, and virtually all parents (99 %) recognize that healthy eating also has a positive effect on learning.
Among the key findings from the online survey of 600 parents of children in grades K-12:
- Parents nearly unanimously agree (98%) that their child’s school should offer opportunities for physical activity throughout the day, whether through physical education, activity breaks or recess and afterschool programs.
- Almost as many parents (96%) agree that their child’s school should limit access to unhealthy snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages.
- About two-thirds of parents (63%) believe schools play a major role in instilling healthy habits in students.
Four-fifths of parents have undertaken one or more health-related activity or advocacy effort in their local schools. Those include bringing nutritious foods to school parties or other events and pushing for healthier lunch menus or expanded health education.