6 Things America’s Healthiest Schools Do Differently

This post is part of our 2018 celebration of America’s #HealthiestSchools. View the list and join the movement for healthy schools at HealthiestSchools.org.


From coast-to-coast, America’s Healthiest Schools are serving healthier meals and snacks, engaging students and staff in physical activity and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models. How do these schools do it? Our 2018 award winners share the same key practices.

All of America’s Healthiest Schools:

  1. Involve Parents and Community Members in Decision-Making: America’s Healthiest Schools invite parents and community members to partake in school health efforts by joining the school’s wellness team and/or weighing in on district nutrition and physical activity practices.
  2. Get Students Moving through Physical Education Class AND Recess: Elementary students benefit from at least 60 minutes of physical education per week; middle and high school students are required to take physical education for at least half of the academic year. Recess serves as a supplement, not substitute!
  3. Mix it up in the Cafeteria: From offering different fruits every day of the week to serving foods that align with cultural practices of the student population, America’s Healthiest Schools get creative when it comes to keeping students well-fed.
  4. Offer Free or Low-Cost Fitness Programs for Staff: Healthy students need healthy role models. America’s Healthiest Schools offer staff members accessible, free or low-cost physical activity and fitness programs to help them stay healthy.
  5. Bring Physical Activity into the Classroom: Outside of recess and physical education class, America’s Healthiest Schools merge classroom learning with movement, keeping kids’ minds and bodies active and ready to learn.
  6. Support Students’ Mental and Social Well-Being: Students at America’s Healthiest Schools learn the connection between physical and mental health, understanding the value of nutritious food and regular exercise for optimal psychological and social-emotional development.

Ready to get started at your school? Learn more at HealthiestSchools.org.