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  • Certified Healthy is a tool to assess where your school stands on supporting health
  • By becoming a Certified Healthy recipient, you will receive recognition as a school that goes “above and beyond” to create a healthy, nurturing environment.
  • Certified Healthy Schools have an opportunity to improve the whole school, whole community, and whole child by providing a learning environment that encourages healthier students and employees, thereby allowing them to increase both learning ability and productivity.
  • Certified Healthy School award recipients are invited to professional development opportunities to grow in their wellness efforts.  
  • Recognition as a Certified Healthy School allows for opportunities to apply for grant funding to support initiatives that fall within the application criteria.
  • Certified Healthy School recipients gain community recognition and can show their contribution to the health of Oklahomans by displaying their awards.

    Certified Healthy Schools 2021 Map

Schools of all sizes are encouraged to apply to become a Certified Healthy School. School Districts are encouraged to apply as a Certified Healthy Business. We hope you will apply, regardless of school enrollment.

Tobacco Free

To receive Basic and Merit Certification, schools must be 24/7 Tobacco Free. To receive Excellence Certification, schools must be 24/7 Tobacco Free including vapor and electronic cigarettes and submit a copy of their tobacco policy. These restrictions against smoking and tobacco include marijuana and cannabis derived products. 

Applicants select activities and policies that are currently offered by their school in each of the nine categories of Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model: (1) Health Education; (2) Physical Education; (3) Health Services; (4) Nutrition Environment and Services; (5) Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services; (6) Physical Environment; (7) Social and Emotional School Climate; (8) Employee Wellness; (9) Family Engagement and Community Involvement. There are three levels of certification to become a Certified Healthy School: Basic, Merit, and Excellence.

Scoring for the School applications are legislatively mandated. Each criterion selected is worth one point. The school must have the minimum criteria in EVERY category in order to be certified.

Minimum Criteria/Points Needed Per Category for Each Certification Level

  • School Site
    • Basic: 2 criteria from each of the 9 categories
    • Merit: 3 criteria from each of the 9 categories
    • Excellence: 4 criteria from each of the 9 categories
  • 24/7 Tobacco Policy
    • Basic: 24/7 Tobacco Free
    • Merit: 24/7 Tobacco Free
    • Excellence: 24/7 Tobacco Free including E-cigs and Vapor products

If a school has 3 criteria selected in eight categories, and a single category with only 2 criteria selected, then the assigned level of certification is Basic. If this same school has only 1 criterion selected in that single section, then the school will not be certified. If the school has 4 criteria selected in every section but does not submit the “24/7 tobacco free policy including vapor and electronic cigarettes”, then the school will not be certified at the Excellence level, rather the Merit level.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health Certified Healthy Oklahoma Team provides assistance and consultation regarding wellness to any Oklahoma business, health department, state or community agency, organization, association, or coalition. We can provide the following services:

  • Sample policies related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco

  • Resources on how to begin or enhance a wellness program, including the adoption of policies related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco

  • Content expertise and information regarding best practices.

  • Information and technical assistance – trends, data, and best practices

  • Training, materials, and tool kits

  • Data related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco

  • Best practices being implemented and/or suggested by the State of Oklahoma

  • Information or technical assistance regarding the Certified Healthy process

Helpful Documents

What is the Certified Healthy School Program?

In 2010, Oklahoma State statute 63 O.S. 2061, "the Oklahoma Certified Healthy Schools Act,' was signed into law creating the Certified Healthy School Program. The program is administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Certified Healthy Oklahoma Team. Certified Healthy Schools is a free statewide annual certification dedicated to recognizing school sites that are working to improve student and employee health by providing wellness opportunities and implementing policies that lead to healthier lifestyles.

Why Does Certified Healthy Matter? 

Becoming a Certified Healthy School means you are providing a healthy environment for students and employees, along with supporting an overall healthier Oklahoma. By meeting most or all of the criteria to become Certified Healthy, Schools provide an established environment to foster behavior modification among students and employees, in addition to policy adoption and implementation. Introducing children and youth to healthy behaviors and practices now will support lifelong healthy habits.

The State of Health in Oklahoma Students

Many children and youth spend seven to eight hours a day in a public school setting. This means that a healthy school environment that encourages such things as nutritious meals, physical activity, and avoidance of tobacco products can have a big impact on the health of youth. Conversely, the absence of a healthy environment can contribute to a number of negative outcomes. Health-risk behaviors such as substance use, violence, and physical inactivity are consistently linked to poor grades, decreased school attendance, lower test scores, and an inability to pay attention in class.

The nation as a whole is struggling with physical inactivity in children. According to the 2018 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, the nation gets a grade of a “D -“1. Their definition of a “D” grade is “We are succeeding with less than half of children and youth (20-39%)” p. 61. One of the worst areas in the report was in Schools. This area got a national grade of “D –“. The Schools section of the report includes things like the percentage of schools with daily PE, recess, bike racks at school, traffic calming measures on school property, and access to facilities and equipment for physical activity.

Data for Oklahoma school children is very limited. The childhood obesity rate among 2-4 year old WIC participants is 13.8%, but no readily available data exists for 10-17 year olds2. The obesity rate for high school students in Oklahoma is 17.1%2.

In Oklahoma High School Students:

  • In 2017, almost 1 in 3 students described themselves as slightly or very overweight. Also, almost 1 in 2 were trying to lose weight3.
  • Less than 1 in 3 students were physically active at least 60 minutes per day, every day of the past week3. Almost 1 in 2 students were active at least 60 minutes per day 5 or more days in the past week3.
  • 83% of students did not eat fruit or drink fruit juice 3 or more times per day in the past week4.
  • 88% of students did not eat vegetables 3 or more times per day in the past week4.
  • In 2017, 1 in 8 high school students were current smokers3.

By contributing to the wellness of children and youth in schools, you are helping to create a better, brighter Oklahoma. Schools that advocate for health are recognized as leaders in the community!


  1. National Physical Activity Plan Alliance. The 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Washington, DC. Available at
  2. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity. The State of Obesity in Oklahoma. Available at
  3. Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Oklahoma State Department of Health. 2017. Available at
  4. Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Oklahoma State Department of Health. 2015. Available at


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