Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

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.

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.

Additional Resources

Top