Engaging Parents to Promote Healthy Schools
Most parents think schools should help address the health of students, yet many parents are not involved in creating healthy school environments for their children.
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 like smoking.1-6
We want parents to have the information on how they can support their children's school. When parents are involved, the school is happier and healthier place to be,1 and their child's grades and performance are improved.7
Parents have a powerful role in supporting children’s health and learning.
What is Parents for Healthy Schools?
Parents for Healthy Schools is a set of resources that school groups, such as 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.
- Parents for Healthy Schools: A Guide for Getting Parents Involved from K‒12
- Provides an overview on:
- School nutrition.
- Physical education and physical activity.
- Managing chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes in schools.
- Explains how parents can be involved in school health and gives guidance on how the resources can be used.
- Provides an overview on:
- 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 schools.
- Includes an evaluation form.
- Ideas for Parents
- Suggests key questions and shares ideas parents can consider when asking about a health topic or wanting to take action.
- 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 and 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
- Action team for partnerships that is part of the National Network of Partnership Schools
Others, such as school nutrition directors, school administrators, school nurses, teachers, parents, and community members or organizations, interested in working with parents and getting them involved in the school can also use these resources.
For more information, visit Parents for Healthy Schools website.
- Parents for Healthy Schools is based on CDC's Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health [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 [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 module on Parents for Healthy Schools. The Parents for Healthy Schools module 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 – 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 parental 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.
- Page last reviewed: June 27, 2016
- Page last updated: June 27, 2016
- Content source:
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs