Do state policies support healthy schools?

A January 2019 Child Trends report delves into how well state policies and statutes support healthy school environments. The researchers assessed states on how well they address the 10 components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model developed in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with ASCD.

The 10 components are:

  • Health education
  • Physical education and physical activity
  • Nutrition environment and services
  • Health services
  • Counseling, psychological, and social services
  • Social and emotional climate
  • Physical environment
  • Employee wellness
  • Family engagement
  • Community involvement

The study added an additional component in its assessment: whether states explicitly mention the WSCC model or similar approach.

Ten states were found to cover at least six components comprehensively, while 20 states and the District of Columbia covered most components, but not always thoroughly. Eighteen states were limited in their coverage, and two were weak, offering low or no comprehensive coverage of eight or more components. The amount of coverage followed no clear geographic pattern.

Coverage tended to be most comprehensive in the areas of health services and physical environment, with little coverage given to employee wellness.

Source: Chriqui, J., Stuart-Cassel, V., Piekarz-Porter, E., Temkin, D., Lao, K., Steed, H. … Gabriel, A. (2019). Using state policy to create healthy schoolsBethesda, MD: Child Trends.

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