HSP is a PSE intervention designed to create healthier school environments for students and staff. It is among the nation’s largest school-based childhood obesity prevention and health promotion programs, addressing multiple factors that lead to inadequate health and life outcomes — from physical activity and nutrition to social-emotional health and sleep. HSP leads school and district staff through the following 6-step continuous improvement process to implement the Framework of Best Practices: 1) convene a School Wellness Committee (SWC), 2) assess the school health environment using the HSP assessment, 3) develop an action plan tailored to school priorities based on what is important and achievable, 4) explore HSP resources and tools, 5) take action to implement the plan and achieve school goals 6) celebrate success and monitor progress. HSP facilitates the development of partnerships during step one and provides support to schools to implement evidence-based policies and practices related to nutrition and physical activity. Schools document their need and readiness for change in step two by completing the HSP assessment. The sixth step addresses program recognition by celebrating schools’ success through Healthier Generation’s national recognition program.
Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time
Intervention Type: PSE Change
Intervention Reach and Adoption
Setting: School (Learn), Worksite (Work)
Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years), Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Parents/Mothers/Fathers, Adults
HSP is rooted in a “Framework of Best Practices” that identifies specific criteria for a healthy school environment and serves as a guide for policy and practice changes to meet those criteria. The Framework of Best Practices aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) evidence-based 2017 School Health Index (SHI).
- HSP Assessment and an Action Planning tool
- Virtual Training Center – on-demand and live trainings focused on evidence-based strategies for creating healthy school environments
- Evidence-based school health resources
- Action-oriented, e-communications suite
- Success stories from schools across the nation
- Customer Support Center
HSP resources can be found at Alliance for a Healthier Generation website.
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 have reported having a representative school health committee or team that meets at least 4 times a year and oversees 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 HSP assessment. 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 physical activity/physical education 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 have 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 have made one change in PA/physical education 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