Since 2006, federal law has required all school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to adopt a local school wellness policy. This requirement reflects the essential role schools play in promoting student health and fostering lifelong healthy habits in children.
Wellness policies are written documents that outline how school districts plan to help kids eat well, be physically active, and lead healthier lives. School wellness policies set nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available on campus and define benchmarks for physical activity and physical education. They also provide guidelines for nutrition promotion, nutrition education, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. Beyond meeting these legal requirements, school wellness policies provide a platform for developing a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for improving student health.
ChangeLab Solutions has developed specific tools to help school districts strengthen their wellness policies and promote student health. We have also compiled a list of useful resources and publications that address various issues related to local school wellness policies. If you are unable to find what you are looking for, contact us to learn more.
ChangeLab Solutions Resources
In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which added new requirements for local school wellness policies. The USDA released a proposed rule on wellness policies on February 26, 2014, and issued a final rule on July 29, 2016. Further modification of our resources and publications may be necessary in order to ensure compliance with these new federal regulations.
We have updated the following resources to comply with the 2016 USDA final rule on local school wellness policies.
- Resources on Marketing in Schools
- Addressing Bullying in Local School Wellness Policies
- Incorporating Safe Routes to School in Local School Wellness Policies
We are in the process of updating the following products to comply with the final rule. The products indicated with an asterisk (“*”), are in compliance with the 2014 proposed rule, but may require minor updates to fully reflect the language of the final rule. Those without an asterisk may still be useful resources but do not take into account the most recent federal regulations.
- Incorporating Shared Use in Local School Wellness Policies*
- The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and School Fundraisers*
- Know the Rules: An Overview of State Agency Rulemaking*
- How to Enforce a Wellness Policy: A Fact Sheet for Parents and Community Advocates
- Resources on Healthy Vending in Schools
- Addressing Sugary Drinks in Local School Wellness Policies
- Water Access in Schools: Model Wellness Policy Language
For questions or additional information about any of the above resources, including about how they may be affected by the final wellness policy rule, please contact us.
As the government agency tasked with overseeing local school wellness policies, the USDA has put a wealth of information and resources online to help school districts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides online resources to assist school districts in developing, implementing, and promoting policies and practices that support healthy eating and physical activity.
- CDC Healthy Schools
- Local School Wellness Policy
- School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
Many organizations and state agencies have developed valuable resources on local school wellness policies. We have highlighted some below, and will continue to add new resources as they become available. Although ChangeLab Solutions has not reviewed the legal accuracy of these materials, we believe they are useful resources for developing, implementing, and enforcing local school wellness policies.
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity developed a Wellness School Assessment Tool that communities can use to assess the quality of a school district’s wellness policy. It also provides guidance and resources for making improvements.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has developed a number of resources on wellness policies, including a model wellness policy, tools for implementation and evaluation, and guidance on the final rule.
Action for Healthy Kids offers tools and resources to help schools implement health and wellness programs.
The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) provides resources that school districts can use to strengthen their local school wellness policies. It has also developed a fact sheet on healthy fundraisers.