Students spend a significant part of their day in school – on average over six hours. They may eat as many as two of three meals a day at school as well as get much of their daily physical activity at school. Therefore, schools provide a fundamental setting for educating children on the importance of lifelong healthy behaviors. Therefore, schools provide a fundamental setting for educating children on the importance of lifelong healthy behaviors, along with opportunities to consume nutritious meals, snacks, and beverages, and get regular physical activity.
Studies show that healthy students perform better in school. Good nutrition and physical activity are linked to improved academic, behavioral, cognitive and emotional functioning, along with reduced absenteeism.
OCHD is partnering with the Syracuse City School District to improve student health and wellness by striving to carry out four critical strategies:
- Wellness policies: Revise, implement, and assess local wellness policies to improve the school environment.
- Healthy food environment: Increase access to healthy, affordable foods and enhance school districts’ ability to meet federal nutrition standards for foods sold outside the school meals programs.
- The foods and beverages sold and served outside of the school meal programs will meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. The Smart Snacks Food Calculator is a tool with a series of questions that can be used to determine if a product meets the Smart Snack standards.
- Food marketing: Restrict food marketing to children.
- Physical activity: Establish Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP).