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Wisconsin Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity State Plan: School Settings

The school setting is a prime location for improving eating habits and increasing physical activity. Schools have direct contact with more than 95 percent of Wisconsin's young people, for about eight hours a day. Establishing healthy behaviors during childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood.


Why Changing the School Environment Can Increase Physical Activity and Improve Student Behavior

John Hisgen, DPI

Physical Activity: Jon Hisgen,
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

School Strategies, P-00507 (PDF)

View the objectives and full list of strategies for implementation in the school setting.

Key Strategies Overview:

  1. Increase the number of Wisconsin schools implementing environment and policy change strategies to support healthy eating and physical activity.
  2. Increase standards-based nutrition education in grades K-12.
  3. Increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for school-aged children.
  4. Increase the nutritional quality of Wisconsin school meal programs (school breakfast, lunch, summer feeding, and after school).
  5. Decrease access to energy-dense foods and sugar-sweetened beverages in schools.
  6. Increase standards-based teaching in Physical Education in grades K-12.
  7. Provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day for all school-age children.
  8. Use an evidence-based fitness test to assess the endurance capacity of the student population in grades 4-12.


Select School Resources for ideas and materials to implement key strategies, such as the Active Schools Toolkit, Got Veggies?, and other physical activity and school nutrition resources, such as:

  • Wisconsin Active Schools Toolkit
  • Wisconsin Farm to School Producers Toolkit
  • Wisconsin Farm to School Food Service Toolkit
  • Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit
  • Got Veggies? Youth Garden-Based Nutrition Education Curriculum
  • Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Nutrition Education

Success Story Videos

La Crosse Farm to School (left) - "Kids cheering for vegetables? Farm to school works!" Gundersen Lutheran Certified Executive Chef Thomas Sacksteder conducts cooking classes as part of the La Crosse County Farm2School initiative.

Beloit Active Schools - Beloit High School makes it easy for students to exercise.


Chart displaying access to high calorie foods in WI middle and high schools

Key Points

  • A high percentage of Wisconsin high schools and middle schools have access to sugary drinks (72%) and less healthy competitive foods (59%).¹
  • Fewer than half of elementary and middle schools in Wisconsin are incorporating effective strategies to increase student physical activity levels (e.g., active recess, before school PA programs) outside of the PE class.
  • Physical activity can help youth improve academic performance, concentration, memory, and classroom behavior.

¹ CDC Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report, 2011

Back to State Plan home page

Last revised August 16, 2021