Wellness Promotion & Marketing
Why are Wellness Promotion & Marketing so Important?
American schools often participate in fundraising, incentive programs, and sales agreements with corporations that market foods and beverages to students. However, many foods promoted to students through these programs are unhealthy and linked to obesity.1 The evidence shows that selling healthy foods at lower prices than unhealthy foods is a positive way to influence the school environment. This pricing system increases the amount of healthy foods bought and consumed by students at school.2 Schools can develop programs targeting increases in physical activity, improvement in student dietary behaviors and nutrition knowledge, enhanced staff promotion of healthy lifestyles, and involvement of families in health programs. These multi-component programs have been shown to bring about positive changes in student eating habits and knowledge about healthy behaviors.3
Click on a best practice to see model policy language.
+ Staff model healthy eating and drinking behaviors
It is clear that the district encourages staff to model healthy eating and drinking behavior and the policy provides concrete ways in which staff can do this.
- “The District encourages staff to serve as role models in practicing healthy eating, both in school and at home. We encourage and provide opportunities for students, teachers and community volunteers to practice healthy eating and serve as role models in school dining areas." -Blessed Savior Catholic School
- “Staff members will be encouraged to allow students to use water bottles in the classroom and to themselves model this positive behavior.” - Blair Taylor
+ Staff do not consume foods and beverages that may not be sold to students during the school day
The statement provides a specific and clear restriction on staff consuming food/beverages that may not be sold to students during the school day.
- “School personnel serve as nutrition educators and role models for healthy lifestyles. Staff shall not drink pop during teaching time; permitted during prep and lunch times.” -Melrose-Mindoro
+ Staff model physical activity
The district encourages staff to model health physical activity behaviors and also provides concrete ways in which staff can do this.
- “Recess monitors or teachers will encourage students to be active, and will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever feasible.” - North Crawford
- “Teachers will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever feasible." - HOPE Christian School: Fidelis
+ Food is not used as a reward
The policy prohibits the use of food as a reward instead of encouraging that food not be used.
- “Foods and beverages will not be used as a reward, or withheld as punishment for any reason. The District will provide teachers and other relevant school staff a list of alternative ways to reward children.” - North Crawford
+ Physical activity is used as a reward
The policy explicitly states that teachers are encouraged to use physical activity as a reward.
- “Physical activity is encouraged as a reward (i.e. extra recess time, organized games, walk with the principal, etc.) -Wausau
Physical activity is included in a linked/attached list of alternative rewards for students.
- “Food and beverages will not be used as a reward. The District will provide teachers and other relevant school staff with a list of alternative ways to reward children. On this provided list (either a physical copy of the list or a hyperlink in the policy) physical activity/extra recess is included” - North Crawford
+ Physical activity is not used as a punishment
It is clear that physical activity will not be used as punishment.
- “The District prohibits the use of physical activity as punishment.” -Cambridge
- “Teachers will not use physical activity (e.g. running laps, pushups) as punishment." -Albany
+ Physical activity is not withheld as a punishment
The policy explicitly states that all forms of physical activity (not just recess) will not be withheld as punishment.
- “Physical activity during the school day (including but not limited to recess, physical activity breaks, or physical education) will not be withheld as punishment for any reason. The District will provide teachers and other school staff with a list of ideas for alternative ways to discipline students.” -North Crawford
+ Healthy food and beverage choices are marketed/promoted
The policy provides specific strategies to promote healthy choices in the lunchroom.
- Promote healthy food and beverage choices using at least ten of the following Smarter Lunchroom techniques:
- Daily fruit options are displayed in a location in the line of sight and reach of students
- White milk is placed in front of other beverages in all coolers
- Daily announcements are used to promote and market health menu options
- Alternative entree options are highlighted on posters or signs within all dining areas, Etc.” -North Crawford
It is clear that there are specific strategies/events to promote nutrition.
- “Students will be provided with enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant participatory activities such as contests, promotions, taste tests, and farm/nature visits.” -St. Francis Solanus School
The statement provides a specific strategy to encourage students to make healthy food choices.
- “Food pricing strategies shall be designed to encourage students to purchase nutritious items.” - School District of Cambridge
+ Physical activity is promoted
The policy provides specific strategies and examples of the ways in which the district will promote physical activity.
- “The district will encourage students to be physically active before and after school through supervised access to identified facilities, participation in Beyond the Bell after school program, clubs, sports, and other activities.” -North Crawford
- “The district works cooperatively with the summer recreation program, area youth soccer groups, the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, the area swim club, and we offer summer swimming lessons and open pool availability to other groups to provide additional programming for our students.” - Mauston
+ Family wellness activities are planned and include nutrition and physical activity components
The statement guarantees that school-sponsored nutrition/physical activity related wellness activities will occur and provides an example of one such activity.
“All school-sponsored wellness events will include physical activity opportunities. Families will be informed and invited to participate in school-sponsored activities and will receive information about health promotion efforts. One such activity will be . . . (insert activity here).” -Hales Corners Lutheran School
“The district will implement and maintain before and after school programs that support nutrition and physical activities and overall wellness for students, families and the community, such as Panther Pacers, Bike and Walk to School, Hoops for Heart, and Jump Rope for Heart.” -Palmyra-Eagle Area
+ Marketing of food and beverages that cannot be sold to students during the school day are prohibited:
Five best practices address restriction of marketing of food and beverages that cannot be sold to students during the school day (do not meet USDA Smart Snack standards). A blanket statement applies to all of the following except curricula, textbooks, websites used for educational purposes, and other educational materials.
The following statement is an example of a blanket statement about marketing restrictions. The restrictions must be AT LEAST as strict as meeting Smart Snacks standards to get a 2 for these items.
- “Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on the school campus will meet or exceed the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards such that only those foods that comply with or exceed those nutrition standards are permitted to be marketed or promoted to students.” -North Crawford
+ On signs, scoreboards, and sports equipment
The policy specifies the type of marketing being restricted within these items and still meets the USDA Smart Snacks standards.
- “Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on school equipment such as marquees, message boards, scoreboards, or backboards must meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.” -North Crawford
+ On exteriors of vending machines, food or beverage cups or containers, food display racks, coolers, trash and recycling containers, etc.
The policy specifies the type of marketing/displays being regulated and restricts marketing to food and beverages that meet Smart Snacks standards.
- “Any foods and beverages marketed or promoted to students on school equipment through displays on vending machine exteriors, beverage or food products and containers, cups for beverage dispensing, menu boards, coolers, trash cans, and other food service equipment must meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.” -North Crawford
+ On advertisements in school publications, on school radio stations, in-school television, computer screen savers and/or school-sponsored Internet sites, or announcements on the public announcement system
The statement specifies the type of advertising and restricts marketing to foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks standards.
- “Schools will restrict food and beverage marketing to the promotion of only those foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snack Standards set forth in this policy. This includes marketing in the form of advertisements in school publications or school mailings, and broadcasts on school radio stations or in-school television such as Channel One. -Suring
+ In curricula, textbooks, websites used for educational purposes, and other educational materials (both printed and electronic)
The statement specifies school supplies/textbooks/curricular materials and is restrictive to the Smart Snacks standards. The statement can also indicate that these standards will be applied to all new acquisitions of such supplies.
- “Any advertising content on posters, book covers, pupil assignment books, or school supplies displayed, distributed, offered, or sold by the District must contain only foods and beverages that meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.” -North Crawford
Mobilize for Health
Farm to Institution
Community action resources to help connect schools with farmers to get local, fresh food into the cafeteria.
Connect with a team of partners throughout Wisconsin working to make schools healthier.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
School Nutrition Outreach Toolkit
Communication guide for school nutrition professionals to promote their school nutrition programs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
School wellness guidelines established by CDC research and established best practices.
Tips for Teachers – Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in the Classroom
List of steps teachers can take to promote healthy eating and physical activity within the classroom.
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Healthy Out-of-School Time Framework- Best Practices
Collection of best practices and strategies for promoting healthy behaviors outside of the school day.
California Project Lean
CA Project Lean: School Marketing Assessment Tool
Interactive tool for assessing food and beverage marketing in schools, including a ready to use student survey and other resources for marketing evaluation.
Molnar A, Garcia DR, Boninger F, Merrill B. Marketing of foods of minimum nutritional value to children in schools. Preventive Medicine. 2008; 47(5):504-507.
French, Simone. Pricing effects on food choices. J Nutr. 2003; 133(3):841S-843S.
Caballero B, Clay T, Davis SM, Ethelbah B, Rock BH, et al. Pathways: a school-based randomized controlled trial for the prevention of obesity in American Indian schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003; 78(5):1030-1038.