Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating

  • This article is based on “Guidelines for School Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating,” printed in MMWR. 1996;45(RR-9). Copies of the report can be purchased from: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 29402-9325; 202/783–3238.


ABSTRACT: Healthy eating patterns in childhood and adolescence promote optimal childhood health, growth, and intellectual development; prevent immediate health problems, such as iron deficiency anemia, obesity, eating disorders, and dental caries; and may prevent long-term health problems, such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and stroke. School health programs can help children and adolescents attain full educational potential and good health by providing them with the skills, social support, and environmental reinforcement they need to adopt long-term, healthy eating behaviors. This report summarizes strategies most likely to be effective in promoting healthy eating among school-age youths and provides nutrition education guidelines for a comprehensive school health program. These guidelines are based on a review of research, theory, and current practice, and they were developed by CDC in collaboration with experts from universities and from national, federal, and voluntary agencies. The guidelines include recommendations on seven aspects of a school-based program to promote healthy eating: school policy on nutrition, a sequential, coordinated curriculum, appropriate instruction for students, integration of school food service and nutrition education, staff training, family and community involvement, and program evaluation.