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Report shows schools’ progress in helping kids eat better, move more

School Change Index measures practices around food, physical activity


October 25, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A new report shows changes in two Minnesota school districts to improve health for kids. Schools made the changes using a tool called the School Change Index. The tool measures changes on 36 practices around food and beverages, physical activity, screen time and rewards and celebrations.

HealthPartners BearPower and PowerUp initiatives developed the School Change Index. BearPower is a community partnership in White Bear Lake. PowerUp is a community partnership in the St. Croix Valley. Both promote eating better and moving more. The Index assigns points for practices such as:

  • Avoiding sugary treats as rewards
  • Having better-for-you food and drinks at school events
  • Participating in daily recess

“Children’s habits are strongly influenced by their environment,” said Brian Cress, MD, Stillwater Medical Group, PowerUp medical advisor. “The School Change Index helps schools create an environment that makes it is easier for kids to make healthy choices.”

The White Bear Lake school district started using the School Change Index four years ago. Since then, schools in the district have increased their School Change score by 26 percent.

New wellness policy in Stillwater

The Index provided support for the development of a new wellness policy in Stillwater schools. The policy hardwires practices around healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom and in the community. The School Change Index for Stillwater schools increased 20 percent the year after the wellness policy was implemented.

“Habits formed in childhood last a lifetime, so this tool can be an important step in reversing the obesity epidemic,” said Marna Canterbury, MS, RD, is Director of Community Health for Lakeview Hospital.

Amery, Hudson, New Richmond and Somerset school districts that are also using the School Change Index.

Read a report on the School Change Index.

About HealthPartners

Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation. It is dedicated to improving the health of its members, patients and the community.

About Lakeview Hospital

Lakeview Hospital is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. Lakeview is an integrated, non-profit clinic and hospital system serving the eastern Twin Cities area and western Wisconsin. Our system includes Stillwater Medical Group, Lakeview Hospital, The Clinic at Wal-Mart in Oak Park Heights and Lakeview Foundation. For more information, please visit

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