Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2012 CDC School Health Policies and Practice Study Results

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released the findings from the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS 2012). The findings from the national study show that more school districts across the nation support practices to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and provide a quality physical education. SHPPS is the largest and most comprehensive survey to assess school health policies that impact children on a daily basis.

According to CDC, this is a timely and powerful tool that will assist all 50 states now receiving CDC funds to promote healthy school policies and practices under the cooperative agreement State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health. "Schools play a critical role in the health and wellbeing of our youth," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has received funds to support CDC's new strategies for physical activity and nutrition. CDPHE will continue to work with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and other partners to align school health strategies in Colorado and to provide professional development and technical assistance to school districts and communities. 

Key findings from the SHPPS are found below:

Improving School Nutrition Environments:
    ·        The percentage of districts that allowed soft drink companies to advertise soft drinks on school grounds decreased from 46.6% in 2006 to 33.5% in 2012.
    ·        Between 2006 and 2012, the percentage of districts that required schools to prohibit offering junk food in vending machines increased from 29.8% to 43.4%.
    ·        Between 2006 and 2012, the percentage of districts with food procurement contracts that addressed nutritional standards for foods that can be purchased separately from the school breakfast or lunch increased from 55.1% to 73.5%.
    ·        Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of districts that made information available to families on the nutrition and caloric content of foods available to students increased from 35.3% to 52.7%.
Quality Physical Education/Physical Activity:
    ·        The percentage of districts that required elementary schools to teach physical education increased from 82.6% in 2000 to 93.6% in 2012.
    ·        More than half of districts (61.6%) had a formal agreement, such as a memorandum of agreement or understanding, between the school district and another public or private entity for shared use of school or community property. Among those districts, more than half had agreements with a local youth organization (e.g., the YMCA, Boys or Girls Clubs, or the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts) or a local parks or recreation department.
CDC’s new program focused on school health strategies will help facilitate additional improvements in school health policies and practices. All 50 states and the District of Columbia will work with schools to develop and adopt multi-component physical activity policies; promote policies and practices that support USDA’s new standards for the school meal program; facilitate marketing and promoting healthier foods and beverages; adopt standards for competitive foods consistent with the Institute of Medicine Nutrition Standards for Foods in School; and support the implementation of strong local wellness policies.  

Schools are the right place for a healthy start, and together we can help students stay healthy and ready to learn. We look forward to our continued partnership to improve the health of our nation’s youth.

For more information on Colorado's new CDC funding or school health data initiatives, please contact Amy Dillon, CDPHE School Health Specialist at 303-692-2398 or

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