The Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart As-
sociation and the William J. Clinton Foundation, was formed in 2005 as a re-
sponse to the dramatic increase in prevalence of childhood obesity across
the nation. Currently, as many as 1 in 3 students in many states meet the
criteria for overweight or obese.
Progress in the
The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by
Healthy Schools 2015 by fostering an environment that helps all kids pursue healthy and ac-
tive lifestyles. To that end the Alliance is working to positively affect the health
Program of children by forging voluntary agreements with the healthcare and food ser-
vice industries and by working with kids and schools across the nation.
The Alliance believes that helping schools is one of the most efficient and
effective ways to shape the lifelong health and well-being of children and adolescents. That is why the Alliance has
Georgia created the Healthy Schools Program, which aims to improve schools in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and
staff wellness. The Alliance launched the Healthy Schools Program in February of 2006 with funding from the Robert
2011 Wood Johnson Foundation.
By engaging and activating the leaders who can transform the A Quick Look at Childhood Obesity
environments and communities that nurture our children, the Alliance in Georgia
for a Healthier Generation:
Supports nearly 12,000 schools in all 50 states in transforming
their environments into places where students have better ac- Percentage of 37.3% 31.6%
cess to physical activity and healthier foods before, during and children ages 10- 17
after school. years who are
Activates more than 2.5 million teens and tweens to commit overweight or obese1
to eat better, move more and serve as leaders to their peers.
Brokered voluntary agreements with the beverage, snack and State rank for over- Rank in
dairy industries that has contributed to a 88 percent decrease weight or obese 2003:
in total beverage calories shipped to U.S. schools between children (1 is best)1 49 37
2004 and 2009.
Negotiated agreements with 13 of the leading school meals
manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology Estimated adult $2,233 M $75 Billion
companies to develop, market and competitively price health- obesity-attributable
ier school meal options. medical expenditures,
Convened national medical associations, leading insurers and 1998-2000 (in 2003
employers that agreed to offer comprehensive health benefits dollars) 2
to children and families for the prevention and treatment of child-
hood obesity. 1. 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health.
2. 2009 edition of F as in Fat, published by Trust for
America’s Health. www.reversechildhoodobesity.org.
The Healthy Schools Program outlines the course of action for
The Healthy Schools Program making sustainable changes in its Six Step Process:
The Alliance believes that helping schools is one of the most efficient Step 1: Convene a school wellness council to plan and lead
and effective ways to shape the lifelong health and well-being of chil- implementation of the Healthy Schools Program in the school.
dren and adolescents. That is why the Alliance has created the Healthy
Schools Program, which aims to improve schools in the areas of nutri- Step 2: Complete the Inventory in the Healthy Schools Builder to
tion, physical activity and staff wellness. The Alliance launched the identify areas for improvement.
Healthy Schools Program in February of 2006 with funding from the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Step 3: Develop an Action Plan based on what is important and
achievable in the school community.
The Healthy Schools Program pro-
vides technical support to schools Step 4: Identify resources that can facilitate implementation of the
across the country in their efforts to Action Plan.
engage the entire school community
(including administrators, parents and Step 5: Take Action! Follow the Action Plan to create a healthier school
school vendors) in increasing access environment.
to physical activity and healthier foods
for students and staff. In addition to Step 6: Celebrate Success! The Healthy Schools Program works with
providing schools with best practice schools to celebrate small victories and big successes along the way.
resources and support, the Healthy
Schools Program recognizes success-
ful schools through a national award Every school has support from a Healthy Schools Program staff mem-
program. ber who works one-on-one with the school to meet its wellness goals.
Schools also have access to a team of staff with expertise in each con-
The work of the Healthy Schools Program is based on the Healthy tent area. These content experts are available to support schools
Schools Program Framework, a set of best practice guidelines devel- through phone or email consultations, online trainings and professional
oped by a national panel of experts that serves as a “roadmap” for cre- development opportunities.
ating a healthier school environment. These guidelines form the basis
of the National Recognition Program which awards schools at the
Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum levels based on the policy and pro- Schools are able to access a wide variety of information and resources
grammatic changes made in eight separate areas; on the Healthy Schools Program website at healthiergeneration.org.
Schools will find hundreds of success stories from schools around the
country, toolkits that provide step-by-step information for meeting the
Before and Afterschool Programs
best practice criteria, a wealth of local, state and national resources and
Competitive Foods and School Beverages
funding opportunities to help them make meaningful and lasting chang-
Health Education es to their school health environment.
Physical Activity Who can join the Healthy Schools Program?
Everyone. And it’s free.
School Employee Wellness
School Meals www.HealthierGeneration.org
STATE REPORT | 2011 2
State Specifics: Georgia
Table 2. Characteristics of Schools
Table 1. Healthy Schools Program Reach
Initial Participating Students Healthy All
Year Schools Enrolled Schools Schools
2007–08 59 39,588 Participants in State
Characteristic (n = 125) (n = 2,590)
2008–09 24 17,000
2009–10 42 31,040
Total 125 87,628 Elementary 61% 50%
Middle School 19% 19%
High School 13% 15%
Other/missing 7% 16%
2011 Recipients of the
Free or Reduced-Price Lunch
Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s
National Recognition Award: 0-24% 10% 12%
24-49% 22% 23%
Silver: Black's Mill Elementary School, Cliftondale Elementary School,
Palmetto Elementary School, Sandtown Middle School 50-74% 30% 37%
75-100% 37% 28%
Bronze: Springdale Park Elementary School, Herbert Robinson
Elementary School, Kilough Elementary School, Riverview Middle Primary Ethnicity
School, Bear Creek Middle School, High Point Elementary School,
Caucasian 31% 55%
Cowan Road Middle School,
Beecher Hills Elementary African American 67% 40%
School, Bleckley County
Primary School, City Park Hispanic 2% 5%
Elementary School, Huntley
Hills Elementary and School Locale
Montessori School, Langston City 45% 18%
Hughes High School, Jackson
Road Elementary School Suburb 25% 32%
Rural or small town 31% 50%
STATE REPORT | 2011 3
Table 3. A sample of Healthy Schools Program (HSP) criteria and the
percentage of participating schools in the state currently meeting the
Healthy Schools Inventory
criteria, compared to participating schools across the country.
The Healthy Schools Inventory is embedded in the Healthy Schools Builder,
HSP HSP an interactive online tool designed to help guide schools through the
Schools in Schools in process of conducting a needs assessment, prioritizing action steps and
Georgia U.S. developing a customized action plan for school health and wellness. All
Criterion (n = 112) (n =3,455) schools are encouraged to complete the Inventory soon after they begin
their participation in the program and at least once each year thereafter.
Convened a school wellness council that 84% 72%
meets every other month.
The Healthy Schools Inventory is based on the Healthy Schools Program
Goals from the health action plan are 44% 39% Framework and requires 102 responses organized around the eight content
integrated into the overall School Im- areas (i.e., Policy/Systems, School Meals, Competitive Foods and Beverag-
provement Plan. es, Health Education, Physical Education, Physical Activity, Before and
School offers only whole grains daily at 61% 41% Afterschool Programs and School Employee Wellness). The scoring rubric
breakfast and lunch. designates four levels of recognition for achievement: Bronze, Silver, Gold
School offers at least four non-fried, no-
and Platinum. The evaluation team uses the Healthy Schools Inventory to
added-sugar fruit and/or vegetable op- assess change in school policies and practices over time.
All competitive foods offered for sale to 57% 70%
students meet the Alliance Competitive
Substituted at least two “less healthy” 34% 28% School Meals
Inventory Content Area
food fundraisers with nonfood fundraisers
Competitive Foods and Beverages
or with only products that meet the Alli-
ance’s Guidelines. Health Education
Health Education is required for at least 83% 83%
one term for high school students.
At the elementary school level, at least 20 76% 78% Physical Activity
minutes of recess is offered daily. Before and Afterschool Programs
Students receive 150 minutes of physical 7% 24% School Employee Wellness
education or more per week for K-5th
grade. Total Score
Before and afterschool program offerings 68% 58%
dedicate at least 20 percent of time to 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
physical activity. Percent of Schools
School is implementing an employee well- 67% 52%
ness action plan.
Figure 1. Percent of schools showing an improvement of at least one item
School has a plan in place to promote 41% 39% in each content area of the Healthy Schools Inventory for HSP schools in
safe walking and bicycling to/from school. Georgia (n = 101) and for HSP schools in all states (n =2,421 ).
STATE REPORT | 2011 4
Reinventing the Birthday Party
Afterschool Club Helps Define Wellness CAMPBELL ELEMENTARY | FAIRBURN, GEORGIA
ST. SIMONS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL | GLYNN COUNTY, GEORGIA
Campbell Elementary School used to celebrate birthdays by hav-
For the first through fifth graders at St. Simons Elementary School, ing monthly parties in the cafeteria where cake and ice cream were
a monthly afterschool program offers a fun way to explore healthy served to all students celebrating a birthday that month. After join-
choices. Paige Fox, a paraprofessional at the school with a fitness ing the Healthy Schools Program, reinventing the school’s birth-
background, wanted to start a club that would expose children to a day celebrations became a high priority.
number of wellness topics with a hands-on approach. By tapping
into a base of community and parent volunteers she has been able During the school wellness council’s first meeting they brainstormed
to create a diverse spectrum of lessons for the students to explore. new ways to celebrate birthdays but did not find the creative and healthy
solution they were looking for. Then one day, head custodian Lisa Bry-
Some of the topics that have been ant made a suggestion to physical education teacher Matthew Pearch
presented include nutrition, cooking, who then shared the idea with the principal who supported it whole-
yoga, Reiki, fitness, prevention, heartedly.
posture, balance and games. Each
meeting commences with a thinking Now students at Campbell Elementary celebrate their birthdays by be-
map to brainstorm relevant wellness ing physically active. Rather than heading to the cafeteria the students
ideas. As a result, the club is working now head to the gym where Pearch sets up different activities such as
on a wellness definition that currently jump ropes, hula-hoops, basketball, Dance Dance Revolution, etc. The
states, “The better we care fo our- students spend 5-10
selves, the better we are able to enjoy minutes at each station
our lives.” before moving to the next.
At the end of the period,
In the “Hands on Food” session, dieti- the teachers spend time
cian Allison Hendry R.D. focuses on talking about healthy mes-
healthy food choices. Children cut and arrange food portions on their sages and each student
plates and have several opportunities to taste over twenty food items. At gets a Campbell Elemen-
another meeting, students cook with Glynn County Executive Chef, Fritz tary School water bottle
Schultz, making a healthier tuna melt and green bean salad. Janita Nel- and a LiveStrong wrist-
son, a certified yoga instructor, uses a puppet to tell a story that helps band. Pearch said,
guide the children through different yoga poses. “The community has “Students love it!”
been extremely generous with its talents and time,” said Fox.
St. Simons Principal Suzanne Clements explains, “At St. Simons
Elementary our mission is, ‘Joining hands to build a BRIGHTER future
for our community.’ Our wellness initiative directly impacts the future of
our students. I believe obesity in our society can be a major drawback.
Students need to be taught and have an opportunity to practice healthy
lifestyle topics. Our wellness club is well on its way to accomplishing this
STATE REPORT | 2011 5
Student Wellness Ambassadors “Jam” at School-Community Partnerships Help
School Wellness Meetings Gardens Spring to Life
BURGESS PETERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL | ATLANTA, GEORGIA MORNINGSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL | ATLANTA, GEORGIA
The Atlanta Public School System has started a Student Wellness It began in the fall of 2007, when Morningside Elementary devel-
Ambassador Program and 25% of schools are now participating. oped a pilot Farm to School program which encompasses garden
Five students at Burgess Peterson Elementary were selected and related curriculum, nutrition education and provides for more
received training in September on how to promote wellness in their freshly prepared and desirable foods to be served in the cafeteria.
school. They attended the Healthy Schools Program Session #3 The school first started a garden program for their kindergarten
and helped take notes, led a “JAMmin’ Minute” for the group and students. The students have worked in the garden and participated
shared stories of their successes with other schools in attendance. in a weekly garden-related lesson.
Burgess Peterson has five Wellness Ambassadors for this year who are Since that time, additional partnerships have been developed with vari-
Jaila Allen, Jaela Curry, Courtney Jackson, Jeremy Jackson and Jame- ous community organizations to enable Morningside to expand the pro-
cia Simmons. Student Ambassadors take an active role in School Well- gram. The intent of the garden curriculum is to supplement classroom
ness Council meetings by participating in discussions and leading teaching with an outdoor classroom where math, science and social
“JAMmin’ Minutes.” They also lead “JAMmin’ Minutes” for the whole studies can be studied in a real life environment. The curriculum is also
school every day during the morning announcements. designed to support the wellness policy by teaching children about mak-
ing healthy life choices for their bodies and the environment.
Currently, the school is working with the ambassadors to make plans for
planting a garden on campus and getting parent volunteers to maintain Key partnerships include the nutrition department at Georgia State Uni-
it. versity. Professors, undergraduate and graduate students are currently
working to identify and apply for grants to support the school’s pro-
grams. These students are also compiling garden related curriculum for
each grade that will be tied to the Georgia Performance Standards and
are helping to develop a strategic plan for evaluating the programs.
They have also offered to help ensure that any changes made to the
cafeteria menu will meet the minimum requirements of the USDA for the
National School Lunch program.
Other partners include a local restaurant owner who is interested in
helping to fund the garden project through dining events, an employee
volunteer base and donations. Michael Thompson, a local gardener, is
acting as a farm mentor, providing guidance and resources to help the
school develop a successful garden.
STATE REPORT | 2011 6