Assessing the Impact of the Mississippi Healthy Students Act on Childhood Obesity: Year 1 Research

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The Center for Mississippi Health Policy has released a report summarizing key findings from the first year of research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bower Foundation, evaluating the impact of the Mississippi Healthy Students Act.  The report, Assessing the Impact of the Mississippi Healthy Students Act, presents the results of studies conducted by three Mississippi universities that provide valuable information for educators and policy-makers as they look toward the next three years of the Act’s implementation.  The universities collaborating with the Center on this project were the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Healthy Students Act was enacted by the Mississippi Legislature in 2007 in an effort to improve physical education, nutrition, and health education in the state’s public schools.  The Act represents a major effort of state officials to address the state’s high rates of childhood obesity.  For more information on the content of the Act and implementation of its requirements, click HERE for a summary on the Center’s web site.

Research results indicate considerable progress in implementation of school wellness policies but also point to areas where more work is needed. Most schools were reported to have established school health councils; however, more emphasis needs to be placed on the work of the councils, particularly in ensuring that councils report to school boards as required. Evidence of schools making tremendous improvement in the nutritional quality of foods offered to students is confirmed by data from surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In CDC’s report, Mississippi was recognized as making the greatest strides among all surveyed states in removing unhealthy foods from its schools.

Copies of the summary report, as well as the detailed reports from each of the universities can be downloaded by clicking the links at the left.  Printed copies of the summary report are available by contacting the Center for Mississippi Health Policy at 601-709-2133 or by e-mail at