A recent report from the Institute of Medicine described schools as the “heart of health” and identified school-based interventions – policies that change food environments in schools – as one of the most promising ways to prevent childhood obesity.
Inspired by these recommendations, Karen J. Coleman, PhD, a researcher from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, led the Healthy Options for Nutrition Environments in Schools (Healthy ONES) project.
This program worked to change nutrition environments and policies at eight elementary and middle schools in Southern California over a three-year period. The project led to a study last year that found involving teachers, parents, and school staff to promote healthy school nutrition environments helped to reduce unhealthy foods and beverages in schools by 30 percent.
This week another study was published from this initiative in the journal Public Health Nutrition that reveals nearly 80 percent of all food and beverages brought to elementary and middle schools by students, parents, and teachers are unhealthy — including high-sugar snacks, beverages with added sugar, and chips or crackers.