The growing awareness of the social and medical impact of overweight and obesity has encouraged the development of local, state and federal initiatives. These efforts are particularly important when they target youth, because eating and activity patterns established in childhood have been shown to carry into adulthood.
To better understand the health environment for Kansas youth, this study examined key policies and practices that affect public school children across the state.
Findings from the study include:
- School and district staffs recognize that a healthy school environment is important, and that schools should play a role in addressing health improvement for youth.
- Physical education professionals think they need more time with children to do their jobs and instill healthy patterns of physical activity in every child.
- School food service professionals feel enormous stress and conflict in trying to provide children with healthful meals.
- Required physical education decreases at the same time vending machine items and a la carte offerings become increasingly common in school — between grades 6 and 9
across the state.
- Almost 59 percent of public schools, representing an estimated 269,000 children in Kansas, provide vending machine offerings every school day. Vending machines are
more common in rural than urban schools across the state.
- Relatively few schools (20 percent or fewer, depending on the intervention) have instituted nationally recommended strategies to increase physical activity among students.
An Issue Brief and Report for this project may be accessed through the links below.