Grant focuses on school wellness
A $498,255 federal grant was awarded to the Iowa Department of Education to conduct a study to learn the effectiveness of school nutrition trainings, nutrition education for children, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.
The three-year study will include working intensely with 20 schools, with the ultimate goal of establishing best practices that will be rolled out statewide.
“Schools across the state are doing great things related to wellness,” said Carrie Scheidel, consultant with the Department’s Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services. “However, we don’t have the research-based evidence to document the success of these initiatives. With this study, we expect we will eliminate guess work on what works best in the school environments and build support for school wellness.”
The project will focus on various aspects of nutrition, from training school nutrition professionals to empowering students. In addition, the project will address wellness policy implementation – which is a federal regulation that includes goals for everything from nutrition education to physical activity.
“You cannot overstate the importance of effective wellness policies,” Scheidel said. “The goal is not simply creating healthy school environments, but to establish lifelong healthy habits in our students.”
In addition to the study, the grant also will include state-wide activities that include web-based trainings, online resources, culinary workshops and a school wellness conference.