Concerns about children's health pre-date policy-making in public schools, however, the first education policies written by the United States federal government pertained to student wellness. The National School Lunch Policy that was enacted in the 1940s continues to influence how we think about children's health. As recently as 2010, the Health Hunger-Free Kids Act has pointed student wellness conversations in the direction of a war on childhood obesity. The media and student wellness advocates have cited startling statistics to shock the public into action, and elementary schools have been brought into the dialogue as a soldier in the war. The purpose of this research was to find out the ways that health advocates in schools are able to provide wellness opportunities to their students. In addition to detailed regulations about the quality, serving sizes, and preparation of school meals, new to the policy thread came stipulations about the kinds and amounts of physical activity that schools would offer to students. To narrow the focus of this study, it was the physical fitness side, rather than the nutrition side, that was investigated. Integral to the data analysis of this study is the interplay of the people who grapple with the text of the district wellness policy and how they implement student wellness activities into their schools. This implementation phase, called policy localization, illustrates how stakeholders customize the policy to fit their unique setting. Key findings from the study indicate new understandings about the process of district wellness policy integration and sustainability in schools.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Peter Demerath. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 159 pages.
District Wellness Policy Localization: Integration and Sustainability in Two Case Study Schools.
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