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School Health Check

| California


There is a lack of databases available to evaluate the impact, effectiveness, or efficiency of school health SHC² programs. Many schools are putting measures in place to promote a healthier school environment. These measures often are not recognized due to the lack of evaluation tools available to assess their impact.

children in the garden

The Center for Nutrition in Schools at UC Davis, in collaboration with UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, developed the “School Health Check” or “SHC²” questionnaire for Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP). SHCP is a nutrition education program that provides a framework for the following components:

  • Nutrition Education and Promotion
  • Family and Community Partnerships
  • Foods Available on Campus
  • School Wellness and Regional Agriculture

The SHC² can be used to score a school’s environment based on the SHCP’s components and other health and wellness activities. A score of 82 or higher on the SHC² indicates that the school is meeting or exceeding minimum standards in most areas. Data from the SHC² can be used to:

  • determine the effectiveness of a health program intervention
  • identify school site strengths
  • areas in need of improvement
  • measure wellness policy implementation
  • bring up valuable topics for community engagement

The School Health Check was used to measure significant improvements in overall school health. A recent School Health Check (SHC²) Progress Report was completed for Barry School in Yuba City, CA. Results from the report showed improvements in all components of the SHCP. The SHC² questionnaire was given at two different times. Time point 1 was the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year. Time point 2 was the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. A significant improvement was observed in the total score for the SHC² at Barry School from time point 1 (34 points) to time point 2 (71 points).

Some of the greatest areas of improvements identified through the SHC² Progress Report were:

  • increases in nutrition education opportunities in the classrooms
  • the school partnering with local organizations for health and nutrition causes
  • the school providing students and families with information about health, nutrition, and physical activity related services available locally


“Since the SHCP launched at Barry Elementary School, our students have become much more aware of healthy food options. The program has introduced new and healthy food options to students and the delicious food tastings allow students to experience new foods firsthand. The foods sampled are often from our local area, which educates students even further- just how rich in agriculture our area is. The nutrition and physical activity education that is taught with the program can be taken home and utilized as well. The SHCP has incorporated parent involvement, helped revamp our school garden and allowed students’ the opportunity to plant, grow and harvest their own vegetables. I highly recommend this program to all schools. The staff, students and teachers love it when UC CalFresh educators visit Barry Elementary School!” - Barry School Elementary School Counselor

This article was submitted by UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, a SNAP-Ed program. For more information contact Chelsey L. Slattery, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis and UCCE Sutter-Yuba Counties.

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