BACKGROUND: Public schools provide students with opportunities to participate in many discretionary, unmandated wellness programs. Little is known about the number of these programs, their distribution across schools, and the kinds of students served. We provide evidence on these questions for New York City (NYC) public schools. METHODS: Data on wellness programs were collected from program websites, NYC's Office of School Food and Wellness, and direct contact with program sponsors for 2013. Programs were grouped into categories, nutrition, fitness, and comprehensive, and were combined with data on school characteristics available from NYC's Department of Education. Numbers of programs and provision of programs were analyzed for relationships with demographic and school structural characteristics, using descriptive statistics and multiple regression. RESULTS: Discretionary wellness programs are numerous, at 18 programs. Little evidence supports inequity according to student race/ethnicity, income, or nativity, but high schools, new schools, co-located schools, small schools, and schools with larger proportions of inexperienced teachers are less likely to provide wellness programs. CONCLUSIONS: Opportunities exist to further the reach of wellness programs in public schools by modifying them for high school adoption and building capacity in schools less likely to have the administrative support to house them.
- nutrition and diet
- school health policy
- school health program planning
- school wellness programs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health