Katie DiSantis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

Streaming Media



Background: After the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, wellness policies are required for all schools receiving federal funding for meals to ensure proper goal setting and guidelines for physical activity and healthy eating. However, the quality of these policies, particularly in communities at higher risk for nutrition-related diseases, is not well-known.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate wellness policies of both public and private schools within Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The five highest income school districts and the five lowest-income school districts were compared. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s wellness policy was also included. The selected school districts allowed for a comparison between school districts with a higher risk for child obesity to be compared to school districts of lower risk.

Design/Methods: This study utilized a policy comparison. Wellness policies of schools within low-income school districts (higher risk) and high-income school districts (lower risk) were evaluated utilizing a previously validated tool, WellSAT:3.0. PA Department of Education data was used to assess these policies based on eligibility and enrollment in school food programs.

Results: A total of 11 wellness policies were included in this study. Main findings showed that low-income school districts and schools that had over 50% enrollment and eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals scored better on the assessment tool than high-income school districts and schools with less than 50% enrollment and eligibility. Additionally, the private wellness policy performed slightly better compared to the average of public school policies.

Conclusion: School wellness policies varied widely, with the policies of low-income districts outperforming high-income populations. Additionally, schools with higher percentage eligibility and enrollment in school food programs scored better than schools with lower participation. These results are encouraging to see support for meeting basic nutrition needs for children of low-income/high-risk populations.

Included in

Public Health Commons


Apr 17th, 12:00 AM

Evaluation of School Wellness Policies for Accordance with the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 and Obesity Prevention

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