Family, Child, Adolescent Health (Includes Maternal & Child Health)
School Wellness Policies: Promoting School Health Councils and Local Wellness Policy Implementation
(School of Medicine (UMB) Department of Pediatrics-Intern with Growth and Nutrition Division Master's Student)
Profili, Erika (UMB SOM Pediatrics), Hager, Erin (UMB SOM Pediatrics), Eidel, Stewart (MSDE), Jaspers, Lea (MSDE), Lopes, Megan (MSDE), Rubio, Diana (UMB SOM Pediatrics), Black, Maureen (UMB SOM Pediatrics), Penniston, Erin (DHMH Office of Chronic Disease), Saksvig, Brit (UMD Public Health Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
Purpose: Written Local Wellness Policies (LWPs) are federally mandated in school systems to enhance healthy eating/physical activity. Schools are encouraged to form school-level School Health Councils (SHCs) to oversee LWP implementation. The purpose of this study is to determine the association of active SHCs and school-level LWP implementation. Methods: A survey was sent via e-mail to school administrators (n=1349; response rate: 55%) in 2013 regarding the 2012-2013 school year. SHCs existed in 311 of the responding schools (42%). The survey included LWP implementation (17-item scale, Cronbach’s alpha=0.923, scored in 3 categories-no, low, high implementation) and SHC composition/activities. An “active SHC score” was generated (scored 0 or 1, summed, higher score=more active SHC): (i) set goals for healthy eating/physical activity; (ii) met ≥4 times during the 2012-2013 school year; (iii) members include ≥3: administrator, PE teacher, cafeteria manager, school nurse; (iv) members include a parent and/or student; (v) activities made publicly available (website, PTA meetings, or newsletter). School demographics provided by State. Analyses: ANOVA (LSD post-hoc testing) and multi-level multinomial logistic regression (adjusting for clustering within school systems). Results: Mean active SHC score was 2.6 (SD=1.4, range 0-5). LWP implementation categories: no (19.6%), low (36.0%), high (44.4%). 26% of schools were majority low-income (>75% of students eligible for Free-or-Reduced-Price Meals). Mean active SHC score differed by LWP implementation category (F=8.98, p<0.001); specifically schools with no and low-implementation had significantly lower SHC scores than schools with high implementation (2.41 and 2.31 versus 3.00, p=0.015 and p<0.001, respectively). Adjusted multi-level models revealed for every one-unit increase in SHC score, schools are 39% more likely to be in high implementation group (p=0.006). Conclusion: Schools with an active SHC have a higher likelihood of LWP implementation. Interventions that focus on the formation and maintenance of active SHCs are likely to increase LWP implementation.






Importance to public health: