Engaging Parents to Promote Healthy Schools
Parents have a powerful role in supporting children’s health and learning. Use CDC’s resources to help parents get involved in creating a healthier school!
Schools, parents, and students benefit from parents being involved in their children’s school. Students who have parents involved in their school lives are more likely to:
- Get better grades,
- Choose healthier behaviors such as biking or choosing better food and drink options,
- Have better social skills, and
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking.1-6
What Is Parents for Healthy Schools?
Parents for Healthy Schools is a set of resources that school groups, such as the PTA/PTO and school wellness committees, can use to get parents involved in promoting healthy schools.
There are four resources included in Parents for Healthy Schools.
1. Parents for Healthy Schools: A Guide for Getting Parents Involved from K‒12
Provides an overview on school nutrition, physical education and physical activity, and managing chronic health conditions such as asthma or diabetes in schools.
Explains how parents can be involved in school health and gives guidance on how the resources can be used.
When parents are involved, the school is a happier and healthier place to be,1 and their child’s grades and performance are improved.7
2. Parents for Healthy Schools: Making a Difference in Your Child’s School PowerPoint Presentation
Explains the importance of a healthy school and identifies ways parents can take action in promoting a healthy school.
Includes an evaluation form.
3. Ideas for Parents
Suggests key questions and shares ideas parents can consider when asking about a health topic or wanting to take action.
4. Check-in questions
Identifies ways to track whether parents are becoming more involved in efforts to make schools healthier.
These four resources were developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with key federal, professional, and non-profit organizations.
Who Should Use these Resources?
Any school or group in the school that works with parents. These groups include:
- National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
- National Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO)
- School wellness committee
- School health personnel and advisory council
- National Network of Partnership Schools Action Teams
These resources also can be used by others interested in working with parents and getting them involved in the school, such as school nutrition directors, school administrators, school nurses, teachers, parents, and community members or organizations.
- Visit the Parents for Healthy Schools website. Parents for Healthy Schools is based on CDC’s Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health Cdc-pdf[1.78 MB], which defines and describes engagement between parents and school staff and identifies specific strategies and actions that schools can take to increase parent engagement in schools’ health promotion activities.8
- Use CDC’s Promoting Parent Engagement in School Health: A Facilitator’s Guide for Staff Development Cdc-pdf[2.9 MB] to help you develop a plan for engaging parents in school health activities.8 You can incorporate the resources for Parents for Heathy Schools in your plan.
- Take CDC’s new e-Learning moduleExternal on Parents for Healthy Schools. The Parents for Healthy Schoolsmodule provides easier and more flexible access to the Parents for Healthy Schools valuable resources, robust Go Further sections with additional information and resources, and tailored learning experience through a self-directed module ranging from 1 to 1.5 hours.
- Fan X, Chen M. Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: a meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review 2001;13(1):1–22.
- Jeynes WH. The relationship between arental involvement and urban secondary school student academic achievement: a meta-analysis. Urban Education 2007;42:82–110.
- Epstein JL. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools Second Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 2011.
- Ornelas IJ, Perreira KM, Ayala GX. Parental influences on adolescent physical activity: a longitudinal study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2007;4(3):1–10.
- Haerens L, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Maes L. School-based randomized controlled trial of a physical activity intervention among adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health 2007;40(3):258–265.
- El Nokali NE, Bachman HJ, Votruba-Drzal E. Parent involvement and children’s academic and social development in elementary school. Child Development 2010;81(3):988–1005.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2012.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents for Healthy Schools: A Guide for Getting Parents Involved from K-12. Atlanta: US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2015.