In 2009 the WSU College of Education established a comprehensive school program, Building Healthy Communities, which integrates healthy eating, physical activity, and education in elementary schools. BHC has been implemented in 304 elementary schools, impacting more than 118,000 students and 20,000 educators. The program has been proven to: 1) increase children’s healthy eating, 2) increase children’s health-related physical activity, 3) increase student achievement and academic success, and 4) reduce and prevent childhood obesity. The CTN Board awarded a grant to College of Education for a project to improve the effectiveness of the BHC program by making its resources accessible through a digital platform. It will also make it easier to sustain BHC in participating schools.
In addition to the transition to digital resources, the project will add a new communication component for caregivers. Disseminating information to caregivers is currently contingent upon school staff. This is a challenge in most schools due to limited staff availability. It is anticipated the addition of a social media component and targeted messaging to caregivers will strengthen connections between the healthy school initiative and the home environment and minimize the need to rely solely on teachers or school leaders to communicate BHC information to caregivers.