Healthy Schools Healthy Communities

Healthier kids today mean healthier adults tomorrow.

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Note: This initiative is part of the legacy work showcased on our website and is no longer active.

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Through Healthy Schools Healthy Communities (HSHC), we brought together schools, community organizations, businesses, parents, and residents to identify and advocate for changes that increase access to healthy food and physical activity where our kids live, learn, and play.

Schools as the Hub

Launched in 2013, the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities initiative worked at the school district level, and school districts in turn reached out to their K-8 schools. Schools conducted wellness assessments and created action plans in order to meet intermediate outcomes and the long-term goal of reducing childhood obesity rates in their districts.

School wellness committee action plans addressed school foods, physical education/activity, health education, school policy, and family engagement. MFH provided a resource guide of approaches and programs to assist in the development of concrete action steps.

Key to these efforts was our support for a school district wellness coordinator, who developed and organized committees and offered expert technical assistance.

In total, 32 two school districts (with a total of nearly 30,000 students) and 13 partner organizations participated in Schools as the Hub. Participating schools receive technical assistance and support from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Healthy Communities

With input from the school districts, HSHC engaged community organizations to form partnerships and develop action plans that address barriers to healthy eating and active living for children in targeted communities. Community representatives worked closely with school district wellness coordinators in order to ensure effort alignment, steady progress, and ongoing communication. Community organizations received technical assistance for planning and implementation from experts at Local Motion (formerly PedNet Coalition).

Early child care centers were critical partners in all of our communities. More than 30 child care centers located in HSHC communities participated in HSHC through technical assistance from Child Care Aware of Missouri, which increased physical activity and nutrition standards at the early child care sites located within HSHC communities. The centers were in proximity to participating schools, with the expectation that many of the children would transition into existing HSHC K-8 schools and would already be accustomed to the nutrition and physical activity approaches that were implemented.

Statewide Focus & Collaboration

HSHC sought opportunities to collaborate with other funders, nonprofits, and government entities to promote healthy choices for children and their families. MFH provided support to other statewide organizations including the Missouri Coordinated School Health Coalition and the Subcommittee on Childhood Obesity, which was formed to advise the Missouri Children’s Services Commission.

What We Learned

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Learn more about the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities initiative from our Changemaking Now publication.

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This brief distills considerations for leaders and decision-makers who want to shape health initiatives in their communities. 

Are you interested in making changes in your community? Check out these toolkits and get started today!

Eldon Elementary School implemented a wellness committee action plan to address food offerings. Working through Healthy Schools Healthy Communities, they received funds to cover the installation of three salad bars.



participated in HSHC and created healthy opportunities for kids in the classroom, on the playground, at home, and throughout the community.


Child Care Centers

in HSHC communities participated in the Eat Smart, Move Smart program with a goal of increasing physical activity and nutrition standards.


School Districts

participated in HSHC. Participating schools were wildly successful at creating health-promoting environments for students.


areas of improvement

increased number of weekly PE classes, installation of new tracks/playgrounds, weight room revamps, daily breakfast policies, installation of water bottle stations, installation of salad bars.

Get in Touch

Reach out to our HSHC contact for more information.

Portrait of Kathleen Holmes
Kathleen Holmes, RN, MPH
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives