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Schools and Parents Tackling Nutrition and Wellness Policies

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erik Peterson
703-739-3900 ext 124
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Schools and Parents Tackling Nutrition and Wellness Policies

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 13, 2006) - With a deadline of this July; parents, students, administrators, teachers, school nutrition professionals and local communities are working hard to develop local school wellness policies that enhance learning and development of lifelong wellness practices. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required schools to develop local wellness policies involving all community stakeholders. The School Nutrition Association in conjunction with the Child Nutrition Foundation and the National Dairy Council recently surveyed school nutrition professionals on the status and content of their policies. As of January 2006, just under 6% of districts had approved their policy recommendations, while about 38% have begun by drafting a policy. The survey found that 40% of districts are in the early stages of development and 15.7% of respondents indicate having had no activity toward developing their policy. 

Districts cited the following challenges in the implementation of local wellness policies:

  • Lack of funding - 37.6%
  • Lack of Support from students - 29.3%
  • Appropriate food and beverage products not available - 23.1%
  • Lack of support from administration - 23.1%

Nearly 2/3 of districts (60%) indicated that restrictions on individual food products are included in the district‘s local school wellness policy. Restrictions include those on: calories from fat (54% of policies), calories form saturated fat (47%), total fat (39%), total sugar (36%), added sugar (29%) and sodium (19%.)

The survey report released today at SNA’s Legislative Action Conference also includes additional information on the status of nutrition, nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activity components of local wellness policies. Results of the survey will be used to further provide resources and training to school districts developing and implementing their policies.

The School Nutrition Association has made available resources, seminars and guidelines to assist school communities in developing their policies. SNA’s local wellness policy recommendations state that:

  • Child Nutrition Programs comply with federal, state and local requirements. Child Nutrition Programs are accessible to all children.
  • Sequential and interdisciplinary nutrition education is provided and promoted.
  • Patterns of meaningful physical activity connect to students’ lives outside of physical education.
  • All school-based activities are consistent with local wellness policy goals.
  • All foods and beverages made available on campus (including vending, concessions, a la carte, student stores, parties, and fundraising) during the school day are consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • All foods made available on campus adhere to food safety and security guidelines.
  • The school environment is safe, comfortable, pleasing, and allows ample time and space for eating meals. Food and/or physical activity not used as a reward or punishment.

SNA is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. Founded sixty years ago SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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