Healthier Generation is a PSE intervention designed to create healthier school environments for students and staff. It is among the nation’s largest school-based programs improving whole child health, addressing multiple factors that lead to inadequate health and life outcomes – from physical activity (PA) and nutrition to social and emotional health and tobacco/vaping prevention. Healthier Generation leads school and district staff through the following 6– step continuous improvement process: 1) convene a School or District Wellness Committee, 2) assess the school health environment using the Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment (TSIA), 3) develop an action plan tailored to school or district priorities based on what is important and achievable, 4) explore Healthier Generation resources and tools, 5) take action to implement the plan and achieve school or district goals 6) celebrate success and monitor progress. Healthier Generation facilitates the development of partnerships during step one and provides support to schools to implement evidence-based policies and practices related to nutrition and PA. Schools document their need and readiness for change in step two by completing the TSIA. The sixth step addresses program recognition by celebrating schools’ success through Healthier Generation’s national recognition program.
Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity
Intervention Type: PSE Change
Intervention Reach and Adoption
Setting: School (Learn), Worksite (Work)
Setting: School (Learn), Worksite (Work)
Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years), Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Parents/Mothers/Fathers, Adults
Healthier Generation’s approach is rooted in evidence-based best practices for creating school environments that promote learning and support the physical, mental, and social and emotional health of students and staff. The development of the TSIA was informed by review of existing tools (Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program Assessment and Resilience in Schools Index, CDC’s School Health Index, and the Michigan Healthy Schools Action Tool), primary and secondary literature, feedback from researchers and practitioners, and field testing with school and district stakeholders.
- Assessment and action planning tools
- Virtual Training Center – on-demand and live trainings focused on evidence-based strategies for creating healthy school environments
- Evidence-based school health resources from Healthier Generation and partners
- Digital implementation tools such as the Wellness Policy Builder
- Blog with success stories from schools across the nation
- Member Engagement Support Center
Healthier Generation’s resources can be found at Alliance for a Healthier Generation website.
To further support schools and districts in making and sustaining PSE changes, Healthier Generation offers fee-based training and technical assistance tailored to the needs of the implementing organization, which can be offered virtually or onsite by our school health experts. Healthier Generation also provides fee-based customized services, such as tailored health assessments, aggregated reporting for schools or districts completing assessments, and customization of existing Healthier Generation tools to meet agency or community needs.
Evidence-based Approach: Research-tested
|Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST)||Changes – Medium Term (MT)||Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT)||Population Results (R)|
|Environmental Settings||ST5, ST7||MT5, MT6||LT5, LT6, LT7|
|Sectors of Influence|
- ST5b: 76 (70%) case study schools accessed the assessment between 2014 and 2019.
- ST7a-b: Between 2014 and 2019, 49 (45%) case study schools reported having a representative school health committee or team that met at least 4 times a year and oversaw school health and safety policies and programs.
- MT5a,f: Between 2014 and 2019, 70 (64%) case study schools made at least one change to a nutrition item on the Healthy Schools Program (HSP) assessment (the precursor to the TSIA). Total enrollment at these schools: 21,950 students. 70 case study schools documented at least one change in writing or practice to expand access or improve appeal for healthy eating. Based on enrollment, an estimated 21,950 students could have encountered these improved environments.
- MT6a: 52 (48%) case study schools have made at least one change to a PA/physical education (PE) item on the HSP assessment between 2014 and 2019. Through their engagement with HSP, 52 case study schools documented at least one change in writing or practice to expand access or improve appeal for PA.
- LT5a: 70 (64%) case study schools made at least one change to a nutrition item on the HSP assessment AND staff have received at least one training in nutrition between 2014 and 2019. 70 case study schools documented at least one change in writing or practice to expand access or improve appeal for healthy eating. In these 70 schools, this change was implemented together with staff training on continuous program improvement and policy implementation related to healthy eating and nutrition.
- LT6a: 52 (48%) case study schools made one change in PA/PE items AND received at least one training in PA between 2014 and 2019. 52 case study schools documented at least one change in writing or practice to expand access or improve appeal for PA. In these 52 schools, this change was implemented together with staff training on continuous program improvement and policy implementation related to PA.
- LT7a: Between 2014 and 2019, 15 (14%) case study schools received 20 Healthier Generation’s National Healthy Schools Awards.
Nancy Brenowitz Katz, MS, RDN