Over 98,000 students are benefiting from improved local wellness policies for healthy eating and physical activity.
The New Mexico Department of Health’s Healthy Kids Healthy Communities (HKHC) initiative works with coalitions and over 400 state and local partners in 15 counties, 5 tribal communities, and 168 elementary schools to “expand opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for children and low-income adults where they live, learn, play, eat, work, and shop.”
Recently, HKHC has been working with the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) Coordinated School Health and Wellness Bureau (CSHWB) to deliver professional development trainings on local wellness policies to school districts. Training sessions include a presentation accompanied by interactive activities aimed at increasing knowledge of USDA and NMPED policy requirements, and national best practices. District representatives are requested to bring their school wellness policies to reference during the training and are provided ample opportunities during and after the trainings to ask questions and receive technical assistance. Other resources provided during the training include the USDA Final Rule on local wellness policies; NMPED wellness policy guidance document, NMPED wellness policy rubric; sample policy language; as well as information on WellSAT2.0 and resources from Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Approximately 98,600 students have benefitted from improved local wellness policies in the districts, such as healthy eating initiatives such as pre-made salads, smoothies, and family food nights; and trail development and walkability assessments on paths connecting schools to neighborhoods. Between January and May 2017, eight professional development training sessions were held across the state for school district staff that covered 10 counties in the northern region of the state and eight counties in the southern region of the state. . Within these counties, 42 public school districts, two Bureau of Indian Education schools, and one charter school received training.