Volume 2: No. 2, April 2005
ORIGINAL RESEARCH: FEATURED
ABSTRACT FROM THE 19TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHRONIC DISEASE
PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Educating California School Board Members: Aligning
Policies for Student Health and Achievement
Peggy Agron, Victoria Berends
Suggested citation for this article: Agron P, Berends
V. Educating California school board members: aligning policies
for student health and achievement [abstract]. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2005 Apr [date cited]. Available
from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/
Track: Policy and Legal
The objective of this project was to share the development,
implementation, and outcomes of a three-year intervention aimed
to educate California school board members about the important
role school nutrition policies can play to increase the health
and academic achievement of students.
California Project LEAN (CPL), the California School Boards
Association (CSBA), the University of South Florida, The
California Parent Teachers Association, and 10 regional collaboratives worked together to educate school board members
across California. Special outreach efforts were directed toward
school districts serving low-income children.
Formative research was conducted to
understand the factors that influence policy decision making for
California school board members and included a literature review,
a media analysis, key informant interviews, and a statewide
survey of California school board members and superintendents.
The formative research served as the foundation for developing a social marketing plan and intervention
strategies. Research indicated that CSBA was highly respected by
its members. The following activities were
implemented jointly by CSBA and CPL: 1) the development of a
Healthy Food Policy Resource Guide (Guide); 2) placement of
advertisements and articles published in CSBA communications; 3)
training of more than 300 school board members across the state; and
4) local mobilization led by CPL regional coordinators.
The evaluation of this three-year project consisted of 1)
surveys of school board members who received the guide and
attended a training; 2) key informant interviews; and 3) a postsurvey of school board members and superintendents.
Evaluation findings suggested that the Guide was useful to
school board members and that members who attended trainings
planned to raise the issue of nutrition policy for discussion at
a school board meeting. A number of California districts have
established policies that support healthy eating. Postsurveys and
postinterviews were analyzed, and final data was available by
January 1, 2005. The impact of this project continues to be
realized as more school districts request assistance for mobilizing
to offer healthier foods for their students.
The nation is experiencing an unparalleled obesity epidemic.
Many of the foods children eat at school are high in fat, sugar,
and calories. These practices can contribute to inadequate diets
and the development of poor dietary habits. Developing targeted
campaigns with respected education partners can provide local
policy makers with resources to help them establish policies to
support healthy eating.
Corresponding Author: Peggy Agron, MA, RD, Program
Chief, California Department of Health Services, California
Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition), PO Box
997413, Mail Stop 7211, Sacramento, CA 95899-7413. Telephone:
916-552-9883. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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