Building Healthy Schools (2015)

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The Public Health Law Center has written a first-of-its-kind health impact assessment of K-12 school design and its influence on student health. Building Healthy Schools provides an analysis and set of recommendations to positively effect health in schools from multiple perspectives: school siting, transportation, nutrition, and physical activity.

Schools have been affected by changes made to federal, state, and local laws, and ambitious public health initiatives over the course of the past decade, many aimed at reducing childhood obesity and eliminating health disparities. Building Healthy Schools addresses these changes to help communities make well-informed decisions on where and how to build schools, fostering academic success by optimizing student health.

Building Healthy Schools also recommends changes to the decision-making processes behind school siting and construction. The report and recommendations can help school administrators and teachers, city planners, architects, parents, and local policymakers prepare for these incredibly important projects from a student and community health perspective.

The report and recommendations were researched and written using source data from Minnesota K-12 schools, but is applicable to school districts and communities around the country. The Public Health Law Center is one of the top law and policy organizations in the country, helping leaders, officials, and advocates use the law to advance public health. The project was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration between The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with additional funds provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. 

For more information, email Susan Weisman, Project Lead & Coordinator.