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Engaging Parents to Promote Healthy Schools

Mother with son and daughterMost 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

Teacher meeting with student and mother

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.

  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.
      • 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.
  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 schools.
    • 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 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.

Learn More


  1. Fan X, Chen M. Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: a meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review 2001;13(1):1–22.
  2. Jeynes WH. The relationship between parental involvement and urban secondary school student academic achievement: a meta-analysis. Urban Education 2007;42:82–110.
  3. Epstein JL. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools Second Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 2011.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.