The Physical Educator’s Role in Enacting the Mandated School Wellness Policy School Nutrition

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



New federal regulations celebrated in schools.” While a more unlikely headline might be hard to imagine, school physical educators should be delighted with the recently mandated school wellness policies. For the physical education profession, these policies offer new ways of improving student health. The root causes of such health threats as obesity and inactivity are clearly identified: students are eating too much of the wrong kinds of food and moving too little. Unfortunately, effective strategies for solving these problems are harder to identify.

Access to healthy foods in public schools is critical. Schools provide most of the total daily dietary intake of food and nutrients for many children (Gleason & Suitor, 2003). Because the vast majority of children in the United States spend most of their day in public schools, teachers can certainly influence students’ eating habits. What children learn about nutrition in schools almost certainly plays a role in their food choices outside of school, and these choices will affect both the quality and length of their future life (Olshansky et al., 2005).

Efforts to promote healthy and active lifestyles will not succeed without changing students’ diets. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 may prove to be a significant catalyst both for improving children’s health and for rethinking the role of the public school physical education teacher. In this article we will examine some of the nutritional issues that physical educators should consider addressing.


This article was originally published in Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance