In 2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act that requires schools to implement a wellness plan. Grounded in Ecological Systems Theory (EST) (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, 1979), the purpose of this study was to explore the impact of the legislation, discover what measures have been taken to enact the legislation, gauge how the legislation has impacted the work environment of physical educators, and better understand EST in relation to the legislation at the level of the microsystem. In total, 51 individuals participated in in-depth interviews that were triangulated and inductively/deductively coded. The results indicate that (a) principals and physical education teachers had limited knowledge of the plan, (b) school nutrition programs profited more than physical education, (c) physical education is becoming less marginalized, (d) physical education teachers missed an opportunity to use the legislation for program improvement, and (e) individuals at different levels of the system need to interact.
The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.