Video: Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture


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Creating school food environments that support healthy eating among children is a recommended national strategy to prevent childhood obesity, and is shown to have positive effects on student behavior, development, and academic performance.

To help children learn life-long healthy eating habits, researchers developed the Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture.

These guidelines provide practitioners in architecture and public health as well as school system administrators with a practical set of spatially organized and theory-based strategies for making school environments more conducive to learning about and practicing healthy eating behaviors.

Watch how the Buckingham Elementary School redesign project in Dillwyn, Va., used the tool to improve its ability to adopt a healthy nutrition curriculum and promote healthy eating.

At the school, every aspect of the architecture—the furniture, color pallet, and materials—was designed to promote healthy behaviors, such as:

Some of the design principles incorporated include:

  • A food lab where kids can learn how to prepare healthy foods;
  • A cafeteria which facilitates fresh food production;
  • A school garden for kids to grow food for the school cafeteria and burn a few calories;
  • A lower-stress environment to address light, noise levels, air quality and crowding; and
  • Layouts that encourage more movement and the use of attractive water fountains.

This project is the first of its kind and represents a brand new way of thinking about childhood obesity prevention.

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