Healthy School Environments

This series highlights the latest research showing why a healthier school day is vital to building a Culture of Health, including healthier school meals and snacks and increased physical activity.

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A girl selects a healthy snack in a school cafeteria.

Apart from their homes, most children spend more time at school than any other place and many consume up to half of their daily calories there. Ensuring that every child has nutritious foods and beverages and opportunities to be physically active at school is vital to building a Culture of Health.

In recent years, schools have made tremendous progress to improve the quality of the foods they offer to students. Virtually all schools nationwide have successfully implemented USDA’s updated nutrition standards, which took effect in 2012. Schools are offering meals with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—and far less sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars. This is an extraordinary achievement benefitting the 30 million children who eat school lunch. Research shows students like the healthier meals and are eating more of them, and national surveys confirm that parents support USDA’s updated standards. Studies also show that increasing physical activity can help improve kids’ overall health and academic performance.

Latest Content

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Three Reasons to Consider Later School Start Times

February 8, 2018 | Blog Post

Research suggests more sleep for teens could yield significant health and academic benefits. To achieve these benefits, schools across the nation are experimenting with later start times for middle and high schools.

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Comments from Richard Besser, MD, on USDA’s Proposed Changes to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

January 29, 2018 | News Release

Comments submitted by Richard Besser, MD, RWJF President and CEO, in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements” interim final rule.

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Make a School Lunch Date!

October 2, 2017 | Tool/Resource

This infographic illustrates how parents can encourage healthy eating habits by making a school lunch date with their child.

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What It Takes to Bring Healthier School Foods to 31 Million Kids

September 7, 2017 | Blog Post

Healthy changes made to school foods in the last seven years give us hope and confidence that we can help schools more fully integrate health into everything they do.

Creating Healthier Schools Across the Country

Creating Healthier Schools Across the Country

Series//Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program

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Children eat lunch in a school cafeteria.
  1. Children eat lunch in a school cafeteria.

    Creating Healthier Schools Across the Country

    This video series highlights how schools participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program are transforming to provide healthier meals and snacks for their students.
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  3. Students at Anne Frank Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., describe some of their favorite healthy snacks and share their thoughts about why eating healthy is important.
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Creating Healthier Schools Across the Country

This video series highlights how schools participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program are transforming to provide healthier meals and snacks for their students.
This video series highlights how schools participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program are transforming to provide healthier meals and snacks for their students.

Creating Healthier Schools Across the Country

This video series highlights how schools participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program are transforming to provide healthier meals and snacks for their students.

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A Focus on Healthy Children

RWJF funds projects that enable children, particularly those most vulnerable, to grow up physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively well and at a healthy weight.