School Wellness Policy Cooperative Agreement


This study continues the national school wellness policy study conducted by IHRP scientists for more than eight years with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This new phase of the study is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service as a part of the School Wellness Policy Cooperative Agreement.

Led by UIC, the team includes co-investigators from the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (Marlene Schwartz, PhD), Boise State University (Lindsey Turner, PhD), and Action for Healthy Kids (Amy Moyer, MPH, RD) and in collaboration with the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service.

The investigators are conducting state law and district wellness policy surveillance to examine the implementation of these laws and policies on schools and students nationwide, from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Key activities of this study include:

  1. Conducting “on-the-books” wellness and related policy collection for a nationally representative sample of school districts
  2. Conducting primary legal research to obtain school wellness-related codified statutory and administrative (regulatory) laws for all 50 states
  3. Conducting an in-depth analysis of the district policies and state laws using the UIC enhanced adaptation of the WellSAT coding tool developed by the Rudd Center
  4. Conducting a quantitative evaluation of the implementation of the state laws and district policies on school-level implementation
  5. Examining the multi-level association between state laws, district policies, school level implementation and student outcomes
  6. Quantitatively examining the impact of state laws on school and classroom practices using CDC’s School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS)
  7. Conducting seven focus groups with key stakeholders (including district officials, school administrators, food service managers, parents/PTA, students, community members, and athletics/booster groups) to understand barriers and facilitators to wellness and related policy implementation
  8. Developing a wide range of tailored end products for dissemination across stakeholder groups, policy researchers, and the scientific community.

Research Product(s)

See this study's research products.

Affiliated Center/Program

Principal investigator
Funding Agency

U.S Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (Cooperative Agreement No. USDA-FNS-OPS-SWP-15-IL-01)



Amy Moyer, MPH, RD
Marlene Schwartz, PhD
Lindsey Turner, PhD

Start date
End date
Total award
About this grant

This work continues work conducted by Dr. Chriqui, Dr. Turner and their colleagues in the Bridging the Gap research program from the first year U.S. school districts were required to maintain school wellness policies. This research was sustained with additional funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Related publications

Asada Y, Hughes AG, Read M, Schwartz MB, Chriqui JF. High School Students' Recommendations to Improve School Food Environments: Insights From a Critical Stakeholder Group. J Sch Health. 2017 Nov;87(11):842-849. doi: 10.1111/josh.12562.

Asada Y, Hughes A, Chriqui J. Insights on the Intersection of Health Equity and School Nutrition Policy Implementation: An Exploratory Qualitative Secondary Analysis. Health Educ Behav. 2017 Oct;44(5):685-695. doi: 10.1177/1090198117723961.

Asada Y, Ziemann M, Zatz L, Chriqui J. Successes and Challenges in School Meal Reform: Qualitative Insights From Food Service Directors. J Sch Health. 2017 Aug;87(8):608-615. doi: 10.1111/josh.12534.