Date of Award
Nutrition and Hospitality Management
BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern and its
prevalence is increasing. Since children spend much of their time in schools, programs available in this setting can play an important role in promoting student health and reducing obesity. With the purpose of addressing childhood obesity, the U.S. Congress passed the Healthy Hunger Free Kids (HHFK) Act, 2010, which strengthened the mandate and regulations for schools to develop and implement School Wellness (SW) policies put into place to promote students health. Transparency and accessibility of SW policies among schools and public communities are important and required for the development and effective implementation of SW policies.
METHODS: Using a standardized method, 135 Mississippi high schools’ websites were searched for the availability and accessibility of three SW policy documents: 1) High school’s SW policy, 2) Membership of SW policy committee, and 3) SWP implementation plan update.
RESULTS: SW policies were located on 22 (16%) high schools’ websites with 100 (75%) schools either posting or providing a link to the school district’s SW policy. No SW policies could be located on the websites of 13 (9%) schools. SW policy committee membership documents were located on 10 high schools’ websites. No SW policy committee documents included all the required members. No SW implementation plans could be located on any of the 135 high school websites.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings show a lack of transparency and accessibility of schools’ SW policy documents. Updating and educating school administrations on SW policy requirements, as mandated by the HHFK Act, 2010, may be needed if efforts to address students’ health and wellbeing in the school environment is to occur.
Thapa, Samikshya, "Measuring the Accessibility of Mississippi High Schools' School Wellness Policy Documents" (2020). Honors Theses. 1422.
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