Evaluation of school wellness policy implementation in Hawaiʻi's public schools

Jinbo, Janelle Sakura N.
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Healthy children achieve more academically, miss fewer days of school, and are more likely to lead healthy lifestyles after high school graduation. Obesity is an increasing health problem among youth in the United States, and may also affect youth educational achievement outcomes. The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 2004 mandated the development of school wellness policies by 2006, to be implemented by 2007 to improve dietary behaviors and increase physical activity in youth. Compliance with the creation of a policy was mandatory for school districts to continue receiving federal funds for school meals. Hawaiʻi's unique implementation of the policy entailed one policy for all public schools--the School Wellness Guidelines. Initial implementation of the school wellness guidelines in Hawaiʻi was supported by various state and federal partners that offered specific interventions to assist schools in reaching the guidelines. Some of these interventions included professional development (PD) activities, changes in the school food services (SFS) program, implementation of recess before lunch (RBL), and school site individualized interventions. This dissertation study evaluated the impact of wellness policy implementation in Hawaiʻi from 2007-2011, utilizing a descriptive study with a convergent mixed method design approach. Analysis of quantitative data provided from various programs was correlated with qualitative data from interviews with district administrators and individual school personnel. Hawaiʻi's School Wellness Guidelines was compared with a national standard of school wellness policies, demonstrating strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. Youth Risk Behavior Survey data showed significant change in consumption of more nutritious beverages after implementation of the school policies, although there was an increase in screen time, or time watching television or other media. School level interventions showed no significant change in behavior referrals in schools that changed to RBL and difficulty with the implementation and compliance with a school food policy. System wide, school staff, including school food service workers, received additional trainings relating to wellness guidelines, and changes in the standardized school menu items increased nutritional value of school lunches. Results from interviews also provided other specific recommendations for future implementation channels and interventions for Hawaiʻi's unique wellness policy.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
intervention, nutrition
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