Strategies

Policies and programs that work

35 Strategies
Clear all

Active recess

Establish a break from the school day, typically before lunch, that involves planned, inclusive, actively supervised games or activities; also called semi-structured, or structured recess
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

College-based obesity prevention educational interventions

Support multi-component educational interventions for college students that address nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management; often with environmental modifications
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Community-wide physical activity campaigns

Engage a variety of partners in a highly visible, multi-component effort to increase physical activity, often with efforts to address cardiovascular disease risk factors
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Competitive pricing for healthy foods

Assign higher costs to non-nutritious foods than nutritious foods via incentives, subsidies, or price discounts for healthy foods and beverages or disincentives or price increases for unhealthy choices
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Extracurricular activities for physical activity

Provide chances for kids and adolescents to be active and play sports at various skill levels via structured or unstructured after- and before- school athletic activities
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Family-based physical activity interventions

Increase family members’ support for physical activity, often via educational sessions on health, goal-setting, problem-solving, or family behavioral management
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Farm to school programs

Incorporate locally grown foods into school meals and snacks, often with visits from food producers, cooking classes, nutrition and waste reduction efforts, and school gardens
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Fruit & vegetable taste testing

Offer samples of fresh fruits and vegetables in cafeterias, nutrition classes, school gardens, or workplace well-being meetings, often as part of a multi-faceted nutrition intervention
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy food initiatives in food banks

Combine hunger relief efforts with nutrition information and healthy eating opportunities, often with on-site cooking demonstrations, recipe tastings, produce display stands, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy school lunch initiatives

Modify the school lunch food environment by prominently displaying, marketing, and increasing the convenience of healthy foods and providing healthy options
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy vending machine options

Increase healthy options in vending machines by reducing the price of healthy choices, increasing the number of healthy choices compared to unhealthy choices, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Homework or extra credit for PE class

Assign homework or extra credit activities for physical education (PE) or health classes that require students to be physically active outside of school
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Mobile markets

Support fresh food carts or vehicles that travel to neighborhoods on a set schedule to sell fresh fruits and vegetables
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Multi-component obesity prevention interventions

Combine educational, environmental, and behavioral activities that increase physical activity and improve nutrition (e.g., nutrition education, aerobic/strength training, dietary prescriptions, etc.) in various settings
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Multi-component school-based obesity prevention interventions

Deliver educational, behavioral, environmental, and other obesity prevention efforts (e.g., education classes, enhanced physical education, healthy food promotion, family outreach, etc.) in schools
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Open gym time

Offer time during the school day for children to play in the gym, often during lunch period; joint use agreements can expand open gym opportunities to community members outside school hours
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Physically active classrooms

Incorporate classroom-based physical activities, such as classroom energizers, into academic lessons or as a break, usually for elementary students
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Places for physical activity

Modify local environments to support physical activity, increase access to new or existing facilities for physical activity, or build new facilities
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Point-of-purchase prompts for healthy foods

Place motivational signs on posters, front of package labels, or shelf labels near fruits, vegetables and other items that encourage individuals to purchase healthier food options
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Safe Routes to Schools

Promote walking and biking to school through education, incentives, and environmental changes; often called SRTS
Scientifically Supported
  • Housing and Transit
  • Diet and Exercise

School breakfast programs

Support programs to provide students with a nutritious breakfast in the cafeteria, from grab and go carts in hallways, or in classrooms
Scientifically Supported
  • Education
  • Diet and Exercise

School food & beverage restrictions

Limit access to competitive foods and beverages in schools via restrictions on foods that are not provided through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

School fruit & vegetable gardens

Establish designated areas where students can garden with guidance, often with nutrition and food preparation lessons and opportunities for taste tasting and hands-on learning
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

School fundraiser restrictions

Prohibit the sale of unhealthy foods such as sugar sweetened beverages, candy, and other non-nutritious snacks at school fundraisers, often as part of a broader nutrition policy
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

School nutrition standards

Regulate the quality of food that can be sold to students via the National School Lunch Program, à la carte options, vending machines, etc.
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

School-based nutrition education programs

Address nutrition in schools via educational (e.g., classroom or curricula-wide efforts, peer training, etc.), environmental (e.g., school menus, classroom snacks, etc.), and other approaches
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

School-based physical education enhancements

Expand or enhance school-based physical education (PE) by lengthening existing classes, increasing physical activity during class, adding new PE classes, etc.
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Screen time interventions for children

Encourage children to spend time away from TV and other stationary screen media, often as part of a multi-faceted effort to increase physical activity and improve nutrition
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Shared use agreements

Create contracts that support community access to existing facilities (e.g., schools, churches, etc.) before or after business hours; also called joint use, open use, or community use agreements
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Walking school buses

Arrange active transportation with a fixed route, designated stops, and pick up times when children can walk to school with adult chaperones
Scientifically Supported
  • Housing and Transit
  • Diet and Exercise

Water availability & promotion interventions

Make water readily available in various settings via regular placement of drinking fountains, water coolers, bottled water in vending machines, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Worksite obesity prevention interventions

Use educational, environmental, and behavioral strategies to improve food choices and physical activity opportunities in worksite settings, also called workplace health programs
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise