Revise District Policy
You have put time, energy, and effort into helping your school be a healthier environment for kids to learn and grow! Maybe you’ve noticed a difference in student behavior. Maybe you’ve seen the physical activity breaks that started in 1-2 classrooms spread into every room on campus. Maybe you’ve seen students choosing fresh fruit options at lunch. All of your hard work is paying off.
Now, let’s make sure these changes and programs stick. One way is to turn these healthy practices into district policies. A local wellness policy is required in every district or local education agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal Child Nutrition programs. Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies (LEAs) and school districts in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum federal school meal standards.
In July 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released four rules that included requirements for what must be included in these local school wellness policies.
- Encourage participation from parents, students and school community members in policy development, review, implementation, and assessment;
- Improve nutrition content of food consumed by students by applying national school nutrition standards for food sold on school property, including school meals, snacks and beverages (Smart Snacks);
- Have schools set evidence-based goals for nutrition promotion, nutrition education, physical activity, and school wellness activities, addressing school district goals and procedures for school fundraisers, healthy celebrations and non-food rewards, and providing ample opportunities for physical activity, quality physical education, and recess; and
- Promote positive food messaging by restricting the advertising and marketing on school property of food and beverages that do not meet Smart Snacks Standards.
If you are ready to make policy changes, contact your district to review the current wellness policies. Then follow these tips for becoming a wellness policy pro.
Note: Looking for AFHK’s Wellness Policy Tool? We sunsetted this tool in spring 2018. If you have questions about wellness policies or need support updating or implementing your policy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.