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Task Force Recommendations

Actions that schools and their partners should take to address the epidemic trends facing California schools.

Superintendent O'Connell's Task Force for Childhood Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease

On October 29, 2004, the Superintendent's Task Force on Childhood Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease met and approved the following recommendations, which were presented to Superintendent Jack O'Connell on December 10.

The members of the Superintendent's Task Force on Childhood Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease,

Recognizing that the number of overweight children in California and the nation has reached epidemic levels,

Concerned that childhood obesity increases the risk of serious medical conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, resulting in tremendous human and economic cost, excess personal tragedy, and daily suffering,

Recognizing that along with the physical consequences of obesity, there are serious psychological and social consequences as well,

Recognizing also that healthy, well-nourished children are better able to learn,

Affirming that families, schools, and communities must all work together to resolve the problem of childhood obesity,

Acknowledging that approaches to obesity prevention and weight management must include the promotion of self esteem and body satisfaction, along with respect for individual and cultural differences,

Convinced that addressing the problem of childhood obesity will require ensuring that schools have adequate funding to support physical education, health, and nutrition programs,

Have agreed to build on Building Infrastructure for Coordinated School Health: California's Blueprint (PDF; 3MB) by setting forth the following recommendations:

  1. Increase the quality and quantity of instruction in physical education to provide more physical activity and enhance student achievement of California's Physical Education Model Content Standards.

    1. Include physical education as core curriculum, and treat physical activity as essential to all students' education and health.

    2. Maintain and enforce the required 200 minutes of physical education in kindergarten and grades 1-5, with a recommended additional 100 minutes of physical education each 10 school days, exclusive of recesses and the lunch period.

    3. Maintain and enforce the required 400 minutes of physical education in grades 6-12, with a recommended additional 100 minutes of physical education each 10 school days, exclusive of recesses and the lunch period.

    4. Do not grant exemptions to these minimum requirements to any school or class. However, individual student exemptions could be made based on documented medical or hardship reasons and for eleventh and twelfth grade students in approved athletic programs with daily physical activity of 40 minutes or more. (Repeal Education Code sections 51241[c][1] and 51242.)

    5. Ensure that at least 50 percent of physical education time is spent doing moderate to vigorous physical activity. Encourage and provide funds for physical education class size to be similar to core curriculum courses.

    6. Strongly encourage implementation of evidence-based programs and practices with demonstrated impact on physical activity.

    7. Provide funding for on-site instruction, evaluation, and ongoing support to implement evidence-based physical education programs and practices conducted by certified master physical education teachers.

    8. Strengthen mechanisms (e.g. coordinated compliance reviews and distinguished school visits) for monitoring and enforcing physical education requirements.

    9. Improve assessment and public reporting procedures for effectiveness of school-based physical education programs (report in School Accountability Report Card).

    10. Conduct periodic coordinated statewide monitoring of school-based physical education based on progress toward physical education content standards and physical activity programs, using the highest quality available measures to evaluate progress in providing more physical activity for California youth (Fitnessgram).

    11. Provide monetary support to encourage schools to use school facilities and resources to provide opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day.

    12. Provide funding and encouragement for supervision and equipment for physical activity before and after school and after lunch (if lunch period is more than 30 minutes).

    13. Provide funding and encourage the use of safe school facilities as community wellness and activity centers available during non-school hours.

    14. Collaborate with physical activity-providing agencies for wellness center programs.

    15. Fund and encourage schools to provide, maintain, and remodel facilities needed to implement quality physical education and physical activity programs.

    16. Require that schools provide kindergarten and grades 1-6 students with opportunities for physical activity breaks (recess) at least once per 120 minutes of instruction.

    17. When possible, build schools within neighborhoods for easy and safe access, and plan physically active modes of commuting.

  2. Increase the quality and quantity of health education to promote healthful eating and physical activity.

    Build Health Education Infrastructure

    1. Enact legislation to create preschool and K-12 health education standards by 2006.

    2. Obtain State Board of Education approval of health standards by 2007.

    3. Establish health education, including an emphasis on nutrition and physical activity, as a separate core curriculum topic based on the Health Framework for California Public Schools (PDF; 2MB).

    4. Ensure that the health education curriculum follows the Health Framework for California Public Schools.

    5. Provide adequate and reliable funding sources for health education, emphasizing nutrition and physical activity.

    Build Health Education Program

    1. Provide adequate and reliable funding sources to ensure credentialed school nursing services at every school, with a goal of one school nurse for every school site or cluster of schools with a student population of 1,000 by the year 2014.

    2. Utilize school nurses, registered dietitians, and health education specialists to coordinate and help provide health education.

    3. Provide training in health, nutrition, and physical activity for parents, teachers, administrators, and other school staff.

    4. Train health education providers to use instructional strategies that affect student behavior (reference: Health Framework for California Public Schools).

    5. Foster collaboration between schools (including students, parents, teachers, and staff) and the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to support health education, nutrition, and physical activity.

    6. Ensure consistency between health education in the classroom and the school environment.

    7. Provide students opportunities to practice learned behaviors in a variety of home, school, and community settings.

  3. Ensure the availability and quality of healthy foods and beverages served and sold at and by schools.

    School Meals

    1. Provide additional funding for school districts to increase the availability and ensure the quality of school meals in order to reduce dependence on revenue from competitive food sales.

    2. Require professional education standards for food service directors/managers.

    3. Provide funding and adequate staffing for the California Department of Education to provide training and technical assistance to support school districts in meeting state and federal nutrition requirements.

    4. Eliminate, over a reasonable period of time, the marketing on campus of all foods/beverages that do not meet established nutritional standards.

    5. Work with the Legislature and the State Allocation Board to identify and make available funds to establish and modernize school cafeterias, kitchen facilities, and other eating areas.

    6. Prohibit high fat, high sugar foods and beverages from (1) being sold or served on K-12 campuses outside the school meal program; or (2) being sold as fundraisers. Nutritional standards shall (1) be developmentally appropriate and based on a review of SB 19, SB 677, and federal and state guidelines; (2) be established and enforced by state statute and/or regulation; and (3) not apply to foods/beverages brought from home for personal consumption. This requirement should be phased in over a reasonable period of time. A committee should be established by the California Department of Education to develop strategies for implementing these recommendations.
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Last Reviewed: Wednesday, August 30, 2023