Key Strategies to Prevent Obesity

The percentage of children who are overweight1 has more than doubled, and among adolescents the rates have more than tripled since 1980. Overweight is a risk factor for health conditions such as diabetes and is associated with problems such as poor self-esteem. The good news is that schools can help students and staffs adopt healthy eating and physical activity behaviors that are the keys to preventing obesity!

You can make a difference at your school this year by following these steps:

Step 1:  Get Started

Whether you are a teacher, parent, student, or school administrator, you can make healthy changes at your school. Often it takes the leadership of just one person and a willingness to talk to others to make a difference! Below you will find some ideas for getting started. You also can get specific ideas for teachers, parents, students, and school administrators.

Encourage your district Superintendent to create a district health council or your school Principal to create a school health team.

Find others who are willing to participate on the school health council or team with you. Together use CDC's School Health Index, to assess your school's programs and policies, and plan improvements.


Step 2: Choose one of the 10 key strategies below and implement it

1      10 Key Strategies0 Key Strategies

Build a Strong Foundation
Strategies 1-4

1. Address physical activity and nutrition through a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP).

2. Designate a school health coordinator and maintain an active school health council.

3. Assess the school's health policies and programs and develop a plan for improvements.

4. Strengthen the school's nutrition and physical activity policies.

Take Action
Strategies 5-10

5. Implement a high-quality health promotion program for school staff.

6. Implement a high-quality course of study in health education.

7. Implement a high-quality course of study in physical education.

8. Increase opportunities for students to engage in physical activity.

9. Implement a quality school meals program.

10. Ensure that students have appealing, healthy choices in foods and beverages offered outside of the school meals program.


Step 3:Share Your Success Story

Do you want to tell us which strategies you used and what you did to make your school or district healthier?

Please tell us:

Which of the ten strategies you selected.

The steps you took to implement the strategy you selected.

Some of the successes or lessons learned as a result of your efforts.

The impact your efforts had on students, teachers, parents, or administrators.

What they liked about the activities.

A list of the organizations or groups involved in your activities.