Last updated: Mar 02, 2016

1. West Babylon Senior High
West Babylon, New York
1,510 students in grades 9 through 12


What can you say about a high school where the assistant principal strolls the cafeteria with a basket of fruit?

Top honors go to this outstanding school, which scored high across the board in every category—from nutrition to employee wellness. At West Babylon, all soda machines have been removed, so the only drinks available are water, milk, and fruit juice; the revamped cafeteria features a menu that emphasizes healthy choices, like wraps and yogurt, and has replaced fryers with state-of-the-art ovens; and participants in after-school activities are encouraged to stay on campus for healthy snacks and light meals in the cafeteria.

A districtwide commitment to fitness is paying big dividends, too: The student obesity rate dropped 2% in just one school year—and continues to decline. And West Babylon is particularly proud of its new physical education curriculum that focuses on overall wellness, social skills, and lifetime and adventure activities. This initiative appeals to even the least-athletic students and received praise from fitness judges Jennifer Caputo and Harley Pasternak. “This approach shows how students of all skill and ability levels can be exposed to and benefit from being physically active,” Caputo says.

But perhaps the ultimate winning aspect of West Babylon is the commitment of its students, who drive the School Wellness Council and conduct only healthy fund-raisers. No more candy sales! Instead, kids sell baby carrots, sugar-free gelatin, raisins, and nuts.