Gold Medal Schools
About the Program

Background Information  
Teacher and students

One in every four Utah students grades K-8 is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. That is enough students to fill 124 elementary schools or 2,067 classrooms.

With obesity on the rise among children, schools have become the ideal place to teach students about physical activity and nutrition. Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher identified schools as a key setting to prevent and decrease the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Schools can provide many opportunities to engage children in healthy eating and physical activity and to reinforce healthy diet and physical activity messages. All of these healthy habits combined can also produce better overall mental health, self-esteem, and academic success.

Through the Gold Medal Schools™ program elementary schools provide physical activity and healthy nutrition choices at a time when budget cuts and testing requirements overshadow physical activity and nutrition. Gold Medal Schools improves students' academic success through policies and environmental changes that support good nutrition, physical activity, and staying tobacco-free.

The Utah Department of Health developed the Gold Medal Schools program in 2001 using the State Office of Education's core curriculum and the Center of Disease Control's guidelines to address overweight and obesity in elementary schools. Gold Medal Schools has reached more than 202,841 students and over 8,871 teachers in 373 elementary schools.

How does Gold Medal Schools Work?  

Schools meet criteria that are divided into five levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Focus. As schools achieves new levels they continue to implement the criteria they completed in previous levels. This way by the time a school reaches the Platinum Focus level they will be implementing all Gold Medal Schools criteria from Bronze to Platinum Focus and will have a comprehensive healthy school environment.

Examples of criteria include:

  • Establish a Gold Medal Mile™ walking program on or around school grounds and a goal for student participation
  • Write a policy for all teachers, faculty, and staff that food is not to be used as a reward or as a punishment
  • Write a policy mandating a tobacco-free school
  • Write a policy that requires a yearly teachers, faculty, and staff wellness program
  • See a list of all criteria

Resources and support from your Local Health Department and the Utah Department of Health will be available.

Why do schools participate?
  • Healthy schools make healthy learners
  • Studies demonstrate that students who are physically active and have good nutrition achieve higher test scores
  • Healthier school environment
  • Lasting changes in the school  without putting high demands on teachers, faculty, and staff
Where Can I Learn More?

Look through The GMS Guide for detailed information about completing each criterion.

The gold medal schools program is no longer accepting applications. Please contact your local health department to find out what school health initatives are avaliable in your area.

For questions regarding the GMS program please contact Sarah Roundy.