Local School Wellness Policy
A local school wellness policy (wellness policy) is a written document that guides a local educational agency or school district’s efforts to create supportive school nutrition and physical activity environments. Each local education agency participating in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program is required to develop and implement a wellness policy as established by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, and more recently by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) [PDF - 325.4 KB].
Local School Wellness Policy Requirements
School districts can develop wellness policies to meet the unique needs of each school under its jurisdiction, but at a minimum are required to:
- Include goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote students wellness.
- Include nutrition guidelines for all foods available on each school campus during the school day to promote student health and reduce childhood obesity.
- Permit parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, teachers of physical education, school health professionals, the school board, school administrators, and the general public to participate in the development, implementation, and update of the local wellness policy.
- Inform and update the public (including parents, students, and others in the community) about the content and implementation of the local school wellness policy.
- Periodically measure the extent to which schools are in compliance with the local wellness policy, the extent to which the local education agency’s local wellness policy compares to model local school wellness policies, and the progress made in attaining the goals of the local wellness policy, and make this assessment available to the public.
Promoting Health through Local School Wellness Policies
CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported Bridging the Gap (BTG) research program developed a series of briefs highlighting opportunities to support wellness policies through evidence-based strategies. These briefs provide an assessment of policies across school districts nationwide during the 2012-2013 school year, related to seven wellness policy components. They also highlight areas of opportunity for state agencies, school districts, and schools to strengthen wellness policy components.
- Local Wellness Policy Briefs and Resources: 2012-2013 School Year
- Local Wellness Policy Briefs and Resources: 2011-2012 School Year
- Local School Wellness Policies: Where Do They Stand and What Can You Do? [PDF - 736 KB]
- Supporting Quality Physical Education and Physical Activity in Schools [PDF - 900 KB]
- Supporting Recess in Elementary Schools [PDF - 391 KB]
- Creating Supportive School Nutrition Environments [PDF - 661 KB]
- Improving Access to Drinking Water in Schools [PDF - 284 KB]
- Marketing and Promotion of Foods and Beverages at School [PDF -280 KB]
- Addressing Weight Status Measurement in Schools [PDF - 405 KB]
- Methods Document for the CDC and Bridging the Gap Local School Wellness Policy Briefs [PDF - 161 KB]
- School District Wellness Policies: Where do they Stand and What do you Need to Know? PowerPoint® Presentation [PDF - 2.8 MB] [PPT - 7.3 MB]
- Local School Wellness Policies: Where Do They Stand and What Can You Do? [PDF - 742 KB]
- Supporting Quality Physical Education and Physical Activity in Schools [PDF - 934 KB]
- Supporting Recess in Elementary Schools [PDF - 388 KB]
- Creating Supportive School Nutrition Environments [PDF - 688 KB]
- Improving Access to Drinking Water in Schools [PDF - 292 KB]
- Marketing and Promotion of Foods and Beverages at School [PDF -370 KB]
- Addressing Weight Status Measurement in Schools [PDF - 415 KB]
- Methods Document for the CDC and Bridging the Gap Local School Wellness Policy Briefs [PDF - 159 KB]
- School District Wellness Policies: Where do they Stand and What do you Need to Know? PowerPoint® Presentation [PDF - 2.2 MB] [PPT - 3.6 MB]
Putting Local School Wellness Policies into Action
Putting Local School Wellness Policies into Action: Stories from School Districts and Schools [PDF - 2.3 MB] is a compilation of 11 stories that provide examples of steps and strategies used to implement wellness policies, including activities in key areas such as improving school meals and increasing physical activity levels among students.
- USDA Local Wellness Policy Resources
- WellSAT: Wellness School Assessment Tool
Tool to assess the comprehensiveness and strength of school wellness policies.
- USDA Healthier Middle Schools: Everyone Can Help
Tools to engage teachers, principals, parents, food service managers and students in school wellness efforts.
- Wellness Policy Tool
Tool to identify policy options and develop local wellness policies.
- Competitive Foods in Schools
Resources about nutrition standards for all foods and beverages offered or sold outside of the school meal programs.
- Comprehensive School Physical Activity Policy Continuum [PDF - 452.7 KB]
Tool to identify meaningful steps toward optimal policy for physical education and physical activity.
- Bridging the Gap Research on District Wellness Policies
Research products related to BTG’s annual collection and coding of school district wellness policies.
- Local School Wellness Policies 5-Year Technical Assistance and Guidance Plan
- USDA Local School Wellness Policy Workgroup and Guidance
- Page last reviewed: June 17, 2015
- Page last updated: June 17, 2015
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