Healthier Schools through Research Justice

Roots & Remedies 3
DataCenter is providing research support for the Healthy Schools National Campaign — a campaign that seeks to improve the health of students across the country. *Photo from

DataCenter is very excited to support the Healthy Schools National Campaign—a campaign the seeks to create a school environment that provides healthy food, physical activity, nutrition education, and health services for all students. As many of us know, schools in low-income communities of color are severely under resourced. Studies show that students of color have higher rates of childhood obesity, heart disease, suspension, and juvenile detention. They often lack recreational opportunities, and access to health services and schools with high quality facilities

The Healthy Schools National Campaign is a partnership between The Praxis Project, Alliance for Educational Justice, and Community Justice Network for Youth. It was created by a broad network of community leaders, youth leaders, and social justice advocates who are dedicated to addressing the root causes of the health crisis in the US school system.

DataCenter is supporting the campaign with key research support. We’re working with fellow technical assistance provider Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) to create an online power analysis tool. The power analysis tool will help the Health School Campaign answer key questions: Who are the decision makers/power-holders? How and for what do they use power? What do unequal power relationships have to do with the problems we face? What kind of power would it take for grassroots organizations to win the social justice change we want?

DataCenter recently completed case study profiles of key corporate targets such as Aramark – the second largest food service corporation in the country. Why are we profiling Aramark and how does that relate to (un)healthy schools? To try to cut costs, school districts are outsourcing food service to private corporations that are more concerned about profit than providing youth with healthy foods and products. This is just one of the many issues that the Healthy Schools National Campaign seeks to address through six policy areas: Healthy and Safe Food and Water, Physical Activity, Health Services, Safety/Safe Space, Equitable Facilities, and School Infrastructure and Equitable Funding and Governance.

Look for more on DataCenter’s work with the Healthy School Campaign after the campaign’s launch in late September.

*DataCenter’s work on the project is made possible by generous funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The grant is specifically for work that targets the structural reasons for childhood obesity.