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Results of Evaluability Assessments of Local Wellness Policies in Six U.S. School Districts

Categorized Under: Health, Research + Evaluation



A U.S. federal mandate that school districts devise and implement local wellness policies (LWPs) has potential widespread impact on the nutritional content of foods and beverages available in schools and on the amount of physical activity that students engage in; however, evidence concerning the mandate's effectiveness is limited. This study, published in the Journal of School Health, a publication of the American School Health Association, describes the content of LWPs of six U.S. school districts and steps taken toward their implementation and evaluation.

In recognition of the role that schools can play in improving students’ health and in response to the growing obesity epidemic, the Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act of 2004 required each school district participating in a federally funded meal program to establish an LWP by the start of the 2006–2007 school year. These LWPs were to include nutrition guidelines for the foods and beverages available on school campuses during the school day; set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness; and describe how LWP implementation will be monitored. School districts were also required to involve a variety of stakeholders in the development of the policy.

Authored By

  • Nicola Dawkins Lyn

    Vice PresidentICF International

    Nicola Dawkins-Lyn is a behavioral scientist with expertise in community health, focusing on the connection between health and surrounding environmental and social determinants. She provides corporate and technical oversight for projects to ensure excellent standards for quality, client satisfaction, and resource management. She has more than 18 years of experience in developing research designs to assess policies and programs, developing and administering questionnaires and surveys, facilitating expert panels, conducting interviews and focus groups, and performing sophisticated quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

    Dr. Dawkins-Lyn applies her skills in initiative design and formative, process, and outcome research and evaluation to many health-related initiatives. Her wide-ranging public health content expertise includes obesity prevention, health disparities, community-institutional partnerships, and women's health. She is skilled in evaluability assessment, particularly the Systematic Screening and Assessment (SSA) method, and has delivered several presentations and trainings, prepared manuscripts, and coedited a journal issue on the method that received the American Evaluation Association's (AEA) 2011 Outstanding Publication Award.

    Dr. Dawkins-Lyn has multiple degrees from Emory University: a Ph.D. in Sociology, an M.P.H. in Behavioral Science and Health Education, and an Executive M.B.A.

Insight Details

Published: Aug 1, 2011
Author: Seraphine Pitt Barnes, Leah Robin, Terrence O'Toole, Nicola Dawkins (ICF), Laura Kettel Khan, Laura Leviton
Source: Journal of School Health

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