The role of schools in preventing overweight and obesity among students

School is the place where good health, nutrition, and physical activity habits are also learned.

A group of children laughing and some eating cookies.


Childhood overweight and obesity rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are among the highest globally, where nearly four million children under 5 have overweight.[1]

The school environment is one of the places where children learn health, nutrition, and physical activity habits. Considering the amount of time children spend at school, it is an ideal place to encourage them to learn and practice healthy habits.

The objectives of this study are:

1. Identify the most effective actions for preventing overweight and obesity in schools, based on a systematic literature review.

2. Identify existing laws, policies, and programmes related to school nutrition and health in 41 LAC countries and analyze whether they consider the most effective actions to prevent overweight and obesity in the school environment.

3. Explore perceptions regarding the level of implementation of the most effective actions in 21 schools in Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico.

4. Identify the physical activity score in the 21 schools.

5. Make recommendations to strengthen the school environment for the prevention of overweight and obesity among children.

[1] World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Bank Group, Levels and trends in child malnutrition, WHO, UNICEF, World Bank Group, 2021.

Cover The role of schools in preventing overweight and obesity
Publication date
Spanish, English

Files available for download