Chetek-Weyerhaeuser School District, Wisconsin

    • February 5, 2015

In 2009, 43 percent of the approximately 900 students in this rural Wisconsin school district were overweight or obese—but today, that rate is down by more than 30 percent. The district has implemented a number of changes to help students grow up at a healthy weight.

The district’s students are eating healthier at school:

  • Meals are healthier, modeled on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. There are more fruit and vegetable options, more whole grains and salt is being incrementally reduced.
  • On most days, 1% and skim milk are the only milk options in the cafeteria.
  • Retrofitted water filling stations, specialized to fill water bottles, were installed above pre-existing drinking fountains. Each student was given a water bottle and encouraged to drink water in the classroom throughout the day.
  • The foodservice staff has adopted new nutrition analysis software, to help build healthy, age-appropriate menus and post nutrition facts online.
  • Health and home economics students lead their classmates in lessons on health and nutrition, through peer-teaching projects. 

With help from the local Tri-County Medical Society, school leaders also applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Carol M. White Physical Education—and received $975,000 to help students get moving. Additional in-kind donations brought total funding to $1.3 million.

The district has used the grant to expand students’ opportunities for activity beyond competitive sports, and to help create healthy, lifelong personal habits. The district’s investments include:

  • New playground equipment;
  • A 40-foot-long, 10-foot-high climbing wall;
  • In-line skates, snowshoes, canoes, kayaks, cross-country skis and mountain bikes; and
  • Indoor exercise equipment, such as treadmills, elliptical machines and weight machines.

The upper Midwest’s cold winters mean that being active isn’t always easy, but students in the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Area School District are learning fun ways to stay active year-round.


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Declining Rates in Chetek-Weyerhaeuser school district

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Childhood overweight/obesity down 30.2% in Wisc. School district. #SignsofProgress