South Carolina

Engaging South Carolina Schools in the Healthy School Program Process
Over 24,000 students in priority districts, with a potential reach of over 746,000 students statewide, are benefiting from improved policies and practices related to physical activity and nutrition.


Elementary children play at school recess or park on playground.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), in coordination with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (the Alliance), engage eight priority school districts in the Healthy Schools Program process. These schools: (1) conducted CDC’s School Health Index (SHI)External and (2) developed action plans to work towards wellness goals. SC DHEC has also expanded an effort to incorporate Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP) components into action plans and support CSPAP implementation.

CDC funding has made possible the establishment of a school health program and the hiring of a school health project lead at SC DHEC. As a result, SC DHEC has become a convener of various groups, strengthening a state-level strategy to improve the nutrition environment, physical education, and physical activity in schools. CDC technical support and resources such as the School Health Index and the CSPAP: A Guide for SchoolsCdc-pdf are instrumental to success.


Target schools increased physical activity through practices such as “brain breaks” and daily movement in the classroom, limiting the withholding of recess as a punishment, and fostering student and community use of school facilities for physical activity before and after school. These eight rural, high-needs school districts enroll an estimated 24,800 students.

The partnership also extended statewide reach of professional development aligned with national recommendations and encourages sustainable practices. The statewide effort could potentially reach over 746,000 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).