Healthy Weight: Information for Schools

Schools can help students maintain a healthy weight through healthy eating and physical activity. Wellness policies, quality physical education, time for physical activity, and healthy food all help students perform better in school and instill healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Nutrition

The Rhode Island Nutrition Requirements, the USDA All Foods Sold in School Standards, and the Rhode Island Healthier Beverages and Snacks Law all help to ensure students can learn and practice healthy eating during the school day.

Schools can do a number of things to support healthy eating, including analyzing the nutrition curriculum, educating the school community on nutrition guidelines, increasing breakfast participation, and serving local foods.

What schools should do

  • Ensure high quality nutrition education. Use the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool Healthy Eating Module to analyze and develop quality nutrition curriculum.
  • Understand and educate the school community about USDA school nutrition standards. The School Day Just Got Healthier Toolkit is available to help schools.
  • Offer and promote school breakfast. Evidence shows breakfast can help individual maintain a healthy weight and young people who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in school. The USDA’s School Breakfast Toolkit is designed to help your school promote and improve participation rates for school breakfast.
  • Implement Farm to School. The Rhode Island Farm to School Project not only helps students learn where there food comes from and how it is grown; they also reap the benefits of eating local, fresh foods.
  • Apply for a HealthierUS School Challenge award. The USDA established the HealthierUS School Challenge to recognize schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and have created healthier school environments through nutrition and exercise.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is when someone moves their body and expends energy. Walking, games of tag, and running are examples of physical activity. Students who are physically active perform better on tests, are healthier, and are less likely to miss school.

Schools can support students’ physically activity by allowing activity breaks during the school day, providing time for recess, and providing before- and after-school programs.

What schools should do

Physical Education

Physical education is a course led by a qualified instructor. Students learn and practice physical fitness that helps instill habits for a physically active life. Physical education is required for all students in grades 1 through 12. Students should receive an average of 100 minutes per week of health and physical education. See Thrive for more information about Rhode Island’s physical education rules and regulations.

What schools should do