Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Nutrition and Food Systems

First Advisor

Elaine Molaison

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


In recent years, rates of overweight and obesity have increased dramatically in America due to nutritionally poor diets and more sedentary lifestyles. Research has shown that obesity is a risk factor for numerous other conditions such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea. Unfortunately, overweight and obesity do not only affect the adults in our nation. Rates of overweight and obesity have also increased among American children. Approximately 17% of American children are obese, which is three times the rate of 1980 (Menifield, Doty, & Fletcher, 2008). In order to improve the overall health of America’s children, national, state, and local governments have implemented various wellness policies into public schools that address the physical, emotional, and mental health of children. Since the implementation of these programs and policies, researchers across the nation have been monitoring the effectiveness of these programs in improving the health of American children (Belansky, Cutforth, Delong, Litt, & Gilbert, 2010; Coffield, Metos, Utz, & Waitzman, 2011; Kolbo et al., 2006; Kolbo et al., 2008; Molaison et al., 2010; Probart, McDonnell, Weirich, Schilling, & Fekete, 2008; Rodney, O’Meara, Hepburn, & Potter, 2011; Serrano et al., 2007).