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Comprehensive Programming Shows Positive Impacts on Overall School Health

The Issue

There is a paucity of adequate databases available to evaluate the impact, effectiveness, or efficiency of school health programs. While many schools are employing measures to contribute to a healthier school environment, these measures often go unrecognized due to the scarcity of comprehensive and periodic evaluation tools available to assess their impact.

What Has ANR Done?

The Center for Nutrition in Schools at UC Davis, in collaboration with UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, developed the “School Health Check” or “SHC²” questionnaire for Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP), which is a comprehensive nutrition education program that provides a framework for the following components; Nutrition Education and Promotion, Family and Community Partnerships, Foods Available on Campus and School Wellness and Regional Agriculture. The SHC² is a tool that can be used to score a school’s environment based on the SHCP’s components and other health and wellness activities. A score of 82 or higher on the SHC² indicates that the school is meeting or exceeding minimum standards in most areas. The data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a health program intervention, identify school site strengths, areas in need of improvement, measure wellness policy implementation, and bring up valuable topics for community engagement through discussion and goal setting.

The Payoff

The School Health Check was used to measure significant improvements in overall school health

A recent School Health Check (SHC²) Progress Report for Barry School in Yuba City, CA demonstrated improvements in all components of the SHCP. The SHC² questionnaire was administered at two separate points, time point 1(beginning of the 2015-16 academic year), and time point 2 (beginning of the 2016-17 academic year). A significant improvement was observed in the total score for the SHC² at Barry School from time point 1 (34 points) to time point 2 (71 points). Some of the greatest areas of improvements identified through the SHC² Progress Report were increases in nutrition education opportunities in the classrooms; the school partnering with local organizations for health and nutrition causes; and the school providing students and families with information about health, nutrition, and physical activity related services available in the local community.

Clientele Testimonial

“Since the SHCP launched at Barry Elementary School, our students have become much more aware of healthy food options. The program has introduced new and healthy food options to students and the delicious food tastings allow students to experience new foods firsthand. The foods sampled are often from our local area, which educates students even further- just how rich in agriculture our area is. The nutrition and physical activity education that is taught with the program can be taken home and utilized as well. The SHCP has incorporated parent involvement, helped revamp our school garden and allowed students’ the opportunity to plant, grow and harvest their own vegetables. I highly recommend this program to all schools. The staff, students and teachers love it when UC CalFresh educators visit Barry Elementary School!” -Ms. Donovan, Barry School Elementary School Counselor


Department of Nutrition, UC Davis and UCCE Sutter-Yuba Counties
Chelsey L. Slattery,cslattery@ucdavis.edu; Melanie Gerdes, magerdes@ucdavis.edu; Rachel E. Scherr, rescherr@ucdavis.edu; Shyra Murrey, smmurrey@ucanr.edu 530-822-7515