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Are school wellness policies stuck in the Ice Age?
Date:6/17/2010

St. Louis, MO, June 18, 2010 The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, 2004, requires that all school districts have a Wellness Policy if they participate in federal school meal programs. As part of the Wellness Policy, schools are mandated to include nutrition education activities which promote student wellness. A study in the July/August issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior evaluates elementary teachers' overall acceptance and implementation of nutrition competencies in the classroom as part of their School Wellness Policy.

Earlier studies have reported that the majority of school wellness policies include written goals for nutrition education. In the new study, researchers at The University of Mississippi begin development of an instrument to identify the extent of implementation and/or compliance with nutrition education goals. To measure this, Lewin's Organizational Change Model was used to determine elementary school teachers' progression as it relates to the School Wellness Policy. By using this Model, researchers were able to develop an online survey to evaluate whether teachers were in one of the following stages: unfreezing (individuals become dissatisfied with the status quo and believe that change is needed), moving (change comes when individuals have input, allowing them to take ownership), or refreezing (change is complete and has become standard organizational protocol and/or culture).

To ensure that teachers were informed about their School Wellness Policy, only those who answered "Yes" to two items, ''My school has a School Wellness Policy'' and ''I am informed and understand the School Wellness Policy in my school,'' were included. Of the 321 Mississippi teachers surveyed, only 69% (221 teachers) of the teachers' answered "Yes", allowing the researchers to evaluate their stage for implementing change in nutrition education. However, of the 221 teachers informed of the School Wellnes
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Contact: Lynelle Korte
jnebmedia@elsevier.com
314-447-9227
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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