Did You Know?

  • That lack of appropriate facilities is a major challenge for schools that want to serve healthy meals?
  • The Department of Health suggests schools follow the Alliance for a Healthier Generation model school wellness policy?
  • School wellness & health councils, made up of parents, youth, educators and other community members, provide advice and support in implementing school wellness policies and creating healthy, active school environments?
  • The state has core curriculum content standards requiring that students have a minimum of 150 minutes of health, physical education (PE) and safety education per week in grades 1-12?
  • The Department of Health recommends that elementary school students have 150 minutes and middle and high school students have 225 minutes of physical education per week throughout the school year?
  • A comprehensive physical activity program for schools helps students meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and avoid long periods of inactivity?

School Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity

Active kids learn better. When students get more time for health and physical education, they do better physically, mentally and emotionally. Numerous scientific reviews have documented that school health programs can have a positive effect on academic outcomes, as well as health risk behaviors and health outcomes. The Department of Health works in school districts located in high need communities to improve the capacity for keeping children physically active and offering nutritious meal choices throughout the school day.

School Health Strategies

School health strategies are designed to:

The Department of Health helps schools to reach these goals by funding the New Jersey State Alliance of the YMCA’s (Y Alliance) to implement Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP) and improved school nutrition environments. This work is done primarily through School Wellness Teams. School Wellness Teams assess school needs, then develop and implement action plans engaging all students, faculty, staff and students' families in the promotion of school-wide environmental and policy changes. 

School Wellness Teams are the impetus to assess school needs using the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s healthy schools assessment and action plan tool, to develop and implement action plans engaging all students, school faculty and staff, and families in the promotion of school-wide environmental and policy changes.

The Department of Health funds New Jersey Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD) to conduct professional development sessions at statewide and regional meetings for all of the state’s school districts (K-12), with a focus on educating school staff to create school environments that provide healthy nutrition choices and opportunities for physical activity throughout the day, including quality physical education. 

Health Corps and Other Initiatives

Additionally, the Department of Health funds Health Corps, an organization that places a school-based youth coordinator in selected high need high schools to addresses nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyles with students, teachers and the external school community.  Coordinators mentor students in health, fitness and mental resilience, create and support School Wellness Teams, implement health promotion events, undertake environmental projects such as Farm to School and school gardens, and partner with other non-profits, community and sports teams.

New Jersey Safe Routes to School, a federal, state and local effort to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling children to walk and bicycle to school by developing a culture where walking and biking is a safer, more appealing daily mode of transportation.

New Jersey SNAP-Ed is a Cooperative Extension Program provides programs in schools and communities aimed at improving nutrition and increasing physical activity through evidence-based nutrition education

Last Reviewed: 3/16/2017