At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Meal requirements
  • Data are independently coded.
  • Preferential pricing
  • Competitive foods and beverages
  • Empirical assessment of state administrative and statutory laws affecting nutrition standards, such as:
  • Food service director qualifications
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) screening and topics related to advertising/marketing and BMI
  • Smart Snacks food and beverage requirements
  • Empirical assessment of state administrative and statutory laws affecting physical education (PE) standards, such as:
  • PE class time
  • Physical activity time requirements
  • Staffing and teacher requirements for PE
  • Recess time
  • Assessment of health-related fitness
  • Includes additional coding for factors that may enhance or inhibit implementation of law.
  • Laws coded by school level (elementary school, middle school, high school).
  • State Profile Tool allows users to compare the relative strength of a state’s laws with recommended standards across multiple policy areas and grade levels at one time.
  • Mapping Tool produces downloadable color-coded national maps depicting state comparisons for school nutrition and physical education/activity policy areas.
  • Allows users to view relative change in the strength of state laws over time.
  • Scoring based on degree of alignment with national nutrition standards (e.g., U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Institute of Medicine reports, USDA National School Lunch Program, CDC School Health Guidelines).



To collect data about state nutrition environment, physical education, and physical activity laws in the United States and score them in comparison to national standards. C.L.A.S.S. also provides a national map function to compare states on specific policies by grade-level and a state profile function to provide information on all C.L.A.S.S. policy areas across grade-levels in a specific state.

Target Population

State laws for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Began in 2003. Conducted annually 2003-2008, biennially 2008-2012, and yearly thereafter. Most recent year conducted was 2015.


National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Special Note(s)

The core of C.L.A.S.S. consists of two policy classification systems, the Physical Education and Recess State Policy Classification System (PERSPCS) and the School Nutrition Environment State Policy Classification System (SNESPCS), to score codified state law on criteria derived from public health research and national standards for physical education and nutrition. The information presented in this profile was previously presented in separate profiles for the PERSPCS and SNESPCS. That information is no longer presented in the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems.

In 2009, the 2003-2006 C.L.A.S.S. SNESPCS was revised to reflect competitive food and beverage recommendations from the 2007 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth. As a result, the initial SNESPCS criteria and coding were changed for the 2003-2006 combined dataset.

For more information about C.L.A.S.S., please contact a C.L.A.S.S. team member by email at


Sample Design

Census of state laws. Data representative to the state level, including the District of Columbia.

Source of Information

State statutory (legislative) and administrative (regulatory) laws obtained using Westlaw legal database.

Sample Size

Data gathering did not involve sampling. Data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia are available.

Special Note(s)

Annual Reference Date: Data reflect laws/policies in effect as of December 31.

Key Variables


Competitive foods: a la carte in cafeterias; vending machines; other venues, e.g., school stores
Coordinating or advisory council requirements
Food service director qualifications
Marketing: advertising and promotion restrictions
Nutrition education
Reimbursable school meals
School meal environment (e.g., meal scheduling time and length requirements)

Physical Activity-Related

Assessment of health-related fitness
Curriculum standards for physical education (PE)
PE time requirements
Moderate-to-Vigorous physical activity in PE
Recess time
Staffing requirements for PE
PE proficiency requirements
Joint use agreement provisions to promote physical activity


Body mass index screening




Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code


Statute citation

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain data in Microsoft Excel and SPSS formats.


Free of charge.

Special Note(s)

2015 physical activity and nutrition data are now available.


Geocode Variable(s)

State, Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, year.

Existing Linkages

None noted.

Special Note(s)

Interactive data maps are available on the C.L.A.S.S. website.

Selected Publications

A full list of publications may be found here.

Chaloupka FJ, Johnston LD, Brownson RC, Yancey AK, eds. Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Practice and Policy for Healthy Youth Behavior.American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007;33(4S):S147-S307.

Hennessy E, Oh A, Agurs-Collins T, Chriqui JF, Mâsse LC, Moser RP, Perna F. State-level school competitive food and beverage laws are associated with children's weight status. J Sch Health. 2014 Sep;84(9):609-16.

Mâsse LC, Chriqui JF, Igoe JF, Atienza AA, Kruger J, Kohl HW III, Frosh MM, Yaroch AL. Development of a physical education-related state policy classification system (PERSPCS). American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007;33(4 Suppl):S264-S276.

Mâsse LC, Frosh MM, Chriqui JF, Yaroch AL, Agurs-Collins T, Blanck HM, Atienza AA, McKenna ML, Igoe JF. Development of a school nutrition-environment state policy classification system (SNESPCS). American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007;33(4Suppl):S277-S291.

Mâsse LC, Perna FM, Agurs-Collins T, Chriqui J. Change in school nutrition-related laws from 2003 to 2008: Evidence from the School Nutrition Environment State Policy Classification System. American Journal of Public Health. 2013;103(9):1597-1603.

Oh AY, Hennessy E, McSpadden KE, Perna FM. Contextual Influences on Weight Status Among Impoverished Adolescents: Neighborhood Amenities for Physical Activity and State Laws for Physical Education Time Requirements. J Phys Act Health. 2014; 12(6):875-878.

Perna FM, Oh A, Chriqui JF, Mâsse LC, Atienza AA, Nebeling L, Agurs-Collins T, Moser RP, Dodd KW. The association of state law to physical education time allocation in United States' public schools. American Journal of Public Health 2012;102(8):1594-1599.

Taber DR, Chriqui JF, Perna FM, Powell LM, Chaloupka FJ. Weight status among adolescents in states that govern competitive food nutrition content. Pediatrics. 2012;130(3):437-444.