California - HE K-12 curriculum—health eating/nutrition (ES): Curricula

Policy Type: 

State law addresses healthy eating/nutrition.

California Education Code 51210.4.

The State Department of Education shall incorporate nutrition education curriculum content into the health curriculum framework at its next revision. This curriculum shall focus on pupils’ eating behaviors, be based on theories and methods proven effective by published research. Nutrition education shall be designed to help pupils learn all of the following:

  • (a) Nutritional knowledge, including but not limited to, the benefits of healthy eating, essential nutrients, nutritional deficiencies, principles of healthy weight management, the use and misuse of dietary supplements, and safe food preparation, handling, and storage.
  • (b) Nutrition-related skills, including, but not limited to, planning a healthy meal, understanding and using food labels, and critically evaluating nutrition information, misinformation, and commercial food advertising.
  • (c) How to assess their own personal eating habits, set goals for improvement, and achieve those goals by using the Food Guide Pyramid, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Nutrition Fact Labels, and the Physical Activity Pyramid.

California Education Code 51890.

(a) For the purposes of this chapter, “comprehensive health education programs” are defined as all educational programs offered in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, in the public school system, including in-class and out-of-class activities designed to ensure that:

  • (1) Pupils will receive instruction to aid them in making decisions in matters of personal, family, and community health, to include the following subjects:
    • (A) The use of health care services and products.
    • (B) Mental and emotional health and development.
    • (C) Drug use and misuse, including the misuse of tobacco and alcohol.
    • (D) Family health and child development, including the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.
    • (E) Oral health, vision, and hearing.
    • (F) Nutrition, which may include related topics such as obesity and diabetes.
    • (G) Exercise, rest, and posture.
    • (H) Diseases and disorders, including sickle cell anemia and related genetic diseases and disorders.
    • (I) Environmental health and safety.
    • (J) Community health.
  • (2) To the maximum extent possible, the instruction in health is structured to provide comprehensive education in health that includes all the subjects in paragraph (1).
  • (3) The community actively participates in the teaching of health including classroom participation by practicing professional health and safety personnel in the community.
  • (4) Pupils gain appreciation for the importance and value of lifelong health and the need for each individual to take responsibility for his or her own health.
  • (5) School districts may voluntarily provide pupils with instruction on preventative health care, including obesity and diabetes prevention through nutrition education.

California Education Code 8996.

(b) “Nutrition education” means a planned sequential instructional program that provides knowledge and teaches skills to help pupils adopt and maintain lifelong, healthy eating patterns.

California Education Code 8990.

The Legislature encourages nutritional education instructional activities that comply with all of the following:

  • (a) They emphasize the appealing aspects of healthy eating.
  • (b) They are participatory, developmentally appropriate, and enjoyable.
  • (c) They engage families as partners in their children’s education.
  • (d) They encourage teachers responsible for nutrition education, who have received nutrition instruction during their credentialing program, to be adequately prepared and regularly participate in professional development activities to effectively deliver the nutrition education program as planned. Preparation and professional development activities should provide basic knowledge of nutrition, combined with skill practice in program-specific activities and instructional techniques and strategies designed to promote healthy eating habits.

California Education Code 49534.

(a) The Department of Education shall formulate the basic elements of nutrition education programs for child nutrition entities participating in programs established under this article. Such programs shall coordinate classroom instruction with the food service program and shall be of sufficient variety and flexibility to meet the needs of pupils in the total spectrum of education, including early childhood, elementary and secondary schools, special education classes and programs and child development programs.

Policy Links: