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Evaluation of the implementation of federal and state wellness mandates in Rhode Island school districts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that childhood obesity is at 'epidemic' levels. The Surgeon General stated this trend "could wipe out some of the gains we've made in areas such as heart disease, several forms of cancer, and other chronic health problems" (USDHHS, 2001, p. 2). Congressional reaction resulted in the passage of the Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children Reauthorization Act (2004). This law addresses the obesity "epidemic" by mandating local education agencies adopt and implement local wellness policies (LWP) to change the school environment. Minimum requirements for each policy include goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. The research questions for this study were: (1) To what extent have Rhode Island school districts implemented Wellness Policies required by federal and state law? (2) Are there differences in the extent of implementation of Wellness Policies with respect to type of school district (urban, urban ring, and suburban)? (3) Do the qualitative data suggest thematic differences among certified school nurse-teachers perceptions of implementation of Wellness Policies with respect to type of school district (urban, urban ring, and suburban). Data for this sequential explanatory mixed methods study was gathered from a quantitative questionnaire instrument administered to certified school nurseteachers (N = 77) using a using a Likert scale. A one-way ANOVA was employed to examine differences among types of school districts (urban, urban ring, and suburban) with respect to each dimension. Qualitative data were obtained from interviews with certified school nurse-teachers ( N = 3) from each school type (urban, urban ring, and suburban). The responses were coded and categorized in a systematic manner to develop overarching themes and a framework for interpretation of certified school nurse-teachers’ perceptions regarding implementation of wellness policies (Creswell, 2003). The major findings revealed differences in certified school nurse-teachers' perceptions of the extent of implementation of wellness policies with respect to type of school district (urban, urban ring, and suburban) for the dimensions; Communication F = 13.07, p = .001, Fundraising F = 11.55, p = .001, and Food Safety F = 8.55, P = .001. The Rhode Island Departments of Education and Health and school leaders may be able to use these findings to serve as a baseline to evaluate implementation of their wellness policies.
Brady, Alice C, "Evaluation of the implementation of federal and state wellness mandates in Rhode Island school districts" (2010). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3398376.