Schools, Families & Communities
Changing the food environment will require numerous strategies. Some are top-down, such as federally mandated nutrition requirements for WIC (Women Infants and Children) or the National School Lunch Program. Legislative or regulatory actions at the federal level are being discussed but happen slowly. Others are bottom-up, in the form of community and grassroots efforts. The Rudd Center is dedicated to assessing and disseminating information about effective community and school interventions that address nutrition and obesity.
The desire of parents to protect children is powerful. This motivator has also been instrumental in the arena of community efforts to change the nutrition environment; as a result, some of the most successful changes to date have focused on children in schools. As illustrated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and by the impact of local tobacco control efforts, local action often spreads and results in action by state and federal governments.
Schools have a history of serving communities by monitoring aspects of children's health. They are in the unique position of influencing large numbers of children; in fact, improving the food environment at school may be one of the most efficient ways of changing how children eat.