Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Supporting Local Wellness Policies in New York State Schools

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

December 10, 2018








Almost 1 in 3 children in New York State are overweight or obese while 1 in 6 struggle with hunger—and the same child often faces both issues.

As a result, children confront physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges, as well as experience decreased academic performance. Schools are a prime place to tackle these health disparities and support growth, development, and academic achievement, as children spend a significant amount of their time there. Local wellness policies provide guidelines related to nutrition and the physical activity environment in schools. In 2018, NYHealth awarded the Teachers College at Columbia University a grant to promote model local wellness policies for adoption by school districts in New York State.

Under this grant, the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Teachers College led a campaign in support of model local wellness policies and built a coalition to promote their adoption in school districts across the State. To inform the development of a model policy, the Tisch Center examined effective wellness policies adopted by other states, as well as those in use by some New York school districts, to identify best practices and gaps. It educated key policymakers on local wellness policies and the need for a State model. The Tisch Center then produced a report with recommendations for implementing a statewide local wellness policy model.