Background: Congress sought to address escalating rates of childhood obesity by mandating local wellness policies (LWP) (Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004). Previous research has examined LWP content and quality; however, data relative to LWP implementation is limited, and none has examined the relationship between LWP quality and implementation. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of LWP strength on perceived implementation of LWP components. Methods: Data collected from school districts in California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania included district LWPs and online surveys at the district (n = 23) and school levels (n = 76). LWPs were scored using a standardized coding tool. Binary and multinomial regression models were used to examine the predictive ability of covariates and independent factors on perceived implementation of reimbursable school meals and nutrition guidelines for competitive foods sold and offered. Results: Overall LWP strength score did not predict perceived implementation of reimbursable school meals or nutrition guidelines for competitive foods. LWP component strength scores for reimbursable meals and nutrition guidelines did not consistently predict perceived implementation of those components. State and Urban-Centric Locale did predict perceived implementation of some LWP components, particularly nutrition guidelines for competitive foods sold and offered. State was a particularly influential factor in the implementation of LWPs in this study, likely due to differences in state policies and laws. Conclusions: Overall LWP, reimbursable school meals, and nutrition guidelines for competitive foods strength scores do not predict perceived implementation of reimbursable school meals and nutrition guidelines for competitive foods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics