Improving Student Health and Wellness through Programmatic Innovation
In Hawaii, 256 schools with about 170,000 students have strengthened their wellness policies.


Pretty hispanic girl at farmers market

The Hawaii State Department of Health (HDOH), through the Healthy Hawaii Initiative, provides professional development and technical assistance to schools to strengthen programmatic actions that align with or exceed the Hawaii Department of Education (HDOE) wellness policy and related guidelines.

From 2015 to 2016, key stakeholders from HDOH, HDOE, and the Hawaii State Board of Education, along with a state wellness committee, worked to revise Hawaii’s wellness guidelines. In March 2017, the HDOE superintendent approved the revised wellness guidelines for all public schools in Hawaii.


HDOH has led or helped lead programs and activities aimed at enhancing school nutrition environments and wellness. These innovative programs are often “place-based” and reflect local culture. For instance, the “Eat Your Veggies” campaign is an informational campaign that highlights locally grown and available vegetables along with easy-to-read information about food preparation, USDA serving size requirements, and health benefits. More than 400 food services staff received professional development on Smarter LunchroomExternal strategies as part of the campaign.

The “Eat Your Veggies” campaign and other programs and activities that are part of the Healthy Hawaii Initiative incorporate all seven regional districts statewide across seven islands, which are composed of 15 complex areas with 256 schools, to potentially reach about 170,000 students.

This program was supported by CDC’s State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health cooperative agreement (DP13-1305).