New Publication Features Systematic Review Evidence for School Dietary and Physical Activity Interventions
A new article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine outlines systematic review evidence supporting school-based dietary and physical activity interventions to prevent and control obesity. The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends meal or fruit and vegetable snack interventions combined with physical activity interventions in schools. Interventions increase students’ physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption and decrease the number of students who are overweight or have obesity. The findings from these reviews are detailed in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, available online from The Community Guide:
Buchanan LR, Wethington HR, Finnie RKC, et al. A Community Guide systematic review: school dietary and physical activity interventions [PDF – 786 KB]. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2023;64(3):441−51.
What are interventions to increase healthy eating and physical activity in schools?
These school-based interventions aim to improve health by combining meal or fruit and vegetable snack interventions and physical activity interventions. The interventions are designed to provide healthier foods and beverages while limiting less healthy foods, and they make physical activity easier to engage in.
Meal or fruit and vegetable interventions must include at least one of the following:
- Policies that require school meals meet specific nutritional requirements
- Programs that provide fruits and vegetables to students during lunch or snack time
Physical activity interventions must include at least one of the following:
- Physical education classes
- School policies or practices that provide opportunities for physical activity during the school day
Interventions may also include one or more of the following:
- Healthy food and beverage marketing strategies
- Educational programs
- Addition of small-scale equipment to promote physical activity
- Staff involvement
- Family and community engagement
Why is this important?
Meal or fruit and snack interventions combined with physical activity interventions support healthy behaviors that have immediate and long-term health benefits for children and adolescents. Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development. It can also prevent various health conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, iron deficiency, and cavities.1,2 Increasing physical activity during childhood can improve cognition, bone health, fitness, and heart health, and reduce symptoms of depression.3
For More Information
- The Community Guide: Obesity
- Obesity: Meal or Fruit and Vegetable Snack Interventions Combined with Physical Activity Interventions in Schools
- Obesity: Increasing Water Access Combined with Physical Activity Interventions in Schools
- Obesity: Multicomponent Interventions Combined with a Physical Activity Intervention in Schools
- Obesity: Supporting Healthier Snack Foods and Beverages Sold or Offered Combined with Physical Activity Interventions in Schools
- CDC Healthy Schools
1 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2015.
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available from URL: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. Available from URL: https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/physical-activity-guidelines