Wellness Committee Status and Local Wellness Policy Implementation Over Time
INTRODUCTION: Local Wellness Policies are school-district documents containing guidelines for schools to promote nutrition/physical activity. In cross-sectional studies, schools with wellness committees are more likely to implement Local Wellness Policies. This prospective cohort study examines associations between wellness committee status over time and change in Local Wellness Policy implementation using a biennial, statewide survey.
METHODS: School administrators completed surveys following the 2012-2013 (Wave I) and 2014-2015 (Wave II) school years, including a 17-item Local Wellness Policy implementation scale. Four wellness committee status categories included established (both Waves, 35%); new (Wave II only, 22%); discontinued (Wave I only, 13%); and never (neither Wave, 30%). Linear mixed models conducted in 2017-2018 compared LWP implementation change across status groups, accounting for clustering and school characteristics.
RESULTS: Of 1,333 schools, 701 had Wave I data (53%); 748 Wave II (56%); and 441 both (33%). Schools were 69% elementary, 56% suburban, and 35% and 28% had majority (>/=75%) African American/Hispanic or low-income student body, respectively. At Wave I, schools with wellness committees (established/discontinued groups) had higher Local Wellness Policy implementation (mean=32.0, SD=11.5, and mean=28.3, SD=11.4, respectively) compared with schools without committees (never/new: mean=15.4, SD=10.7 and mean=17.6, SD=11.4, respectively, F=64.9, p</=0.001). Over time, never and established groups maintained low and high Local Wellness Policy implementation, respectively. Compared with never, new committees increased implementation by 9.9 points (SE=1.8, p<0.001), and discontinued committees decreased by 11.2 (SE=2.1, p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Forming and maintaining wellness committees encourages Local Wellness Policy implementation and should be a recommended strategy for school wellness promotion.
McIlree, C. D., Lane, H. G., Wang, Y., & Hager, E. R. (2019). Wellness Committee Status and Local Wellness Policy Implementation Over Time. Am J Prev Med, 56(3), e75-e83. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2018.10.023