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The Evolution of School Wellness Campaigns (Infographic)


The Evolution of School Wellness Campaigns

Over the years, various presidential administrations and private institutions have focused on the nutritional needs and physical health of students in public schools. Let’s take a look at a brief history of wellness campaigns in the U.S.

National School Lunch Act

Truman Administration | 1946

Due to nutritional deficiencies in children, the federal government ordered that any surplus agricultural commodities would be sent to public schools to help provide hot lunches to students.

  • 2 million:Number of kids being served lunch at school by 1941, before the act was passed (1)

Today, federal lunch programs … (2)

  • operate in nearly 100,000 schools and institutions across the U.S.
  • serve 30 million students each day.
  • include 20 million free lunches to qualifying students.
  • cost the federal government $13.6 billioneach year.

School Breakfast Program

Johnson Administration | 1966

Many schools were given grants to feed “nutritionally needy” children breakfast before classes.

  • 80,000:Children who were served breakfast in schools across the U.S. during the first year of the program (3)
  • 12.2 million:Number of low-income children who eat breakfast at school on a typical day today (4)


The Cooper Institute | 1982

This program, still administered today in many public schools as the Presidential Fitness Test, uses a series of physical trials to score students.

  • 55%:Percentage of today’s high schoolers who do not meet the recommended physical activity level (5)

The Presidential Fitness Test includes: (6)

  • Curl-ups
  • Shuttle run
  • Sit and reach
  • One-mile run
  • Pull-ups

School-Based Adolescent Health Care Program

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation |1986

This program brought clinics to many public schools, supporting the hiring and use of nurses to treat students during school hours.

  • 95,776:Number of full-time school nurses in the U.S. (7)

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

Obama Administration | 2010

This act focused on nutrition and physical fitness education for students in public schools. It emphasized balanced meals and daily physical activity.

  • 7.5 hours :Estimated amount of time a child spends in front of a screen each day (8)

“Let’s Move!” Initiative

First Lady Michelle Obama | 2010

Michelle Obama started the program alongside the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to cut rates of childhood obesity by encouraging students to make healthier food choices and get outdoors.

  • 1 in 5 :Number of school-age children considered obese (10)



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