New report provides important data on health-related practices in secondary schools

Bridging the Gap has released a comprehensive report examining U.S. secondary school policies and practices related to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention.

The report, entitled School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Secondary School Results, Volume 6, focuses on students in grades 8, 10, and 12 and includes data from nationally representative samples of public middle and high schools. It provides new information from the 2013-14 school year on school meals, competitive foods and beverages, drinking water in schools, physical activity (including physical education, sports participation, and walking and biking to school), progress made in fulfilling the federal wellness policy mandate, and much more. It also includes annual trends from the 2006-07 school year forward.

The report’s authors stress that significant work remains to be done to support healthy eating and physical activity in middle and high schools across the United States. Earlier reports in this series helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop its new standards for competitive foods and beverages in schools. This report provides baseline data that will be useful in tracking progress in compliance with those standards.

Bridging the Gap is a nationally recognized research program that aims to improve the understanding of how policies and environmental factors affect diet, physical activity and obesity among youth, as well as youth tobacco use.

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