Second Report Examines Local School Wellness Policies in 49 States
December 15, 2006 -- Schools districts through out the United States are adding healthier ingredients and offering cafeteria-based nutrition education. From Caribou, Maine to San Jose, California, these are just a few of the changes schools are incorporating through local school wellness policies. Nationally, school boards in nearly every community have approved policies that require nutrition education, add recess, and tighten nutrition standards for foods and beverages available in schools.
School nutrition professionals continue to play leadership roles in the ongoing trend toward healthy school environments and the development of mandated local wellness policies. Section 204 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required that all school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program approve a local wellness policy by July 1, 2006. The law mandates that these policies include goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities, as well as nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available on school campuses.
A Foundation for the Future II outlines key characteristics of local wellness policies approved by a random sample of 140 school districts in seven regions of the United States. These districts account for 3.5% of the nation’s K-12 students. This report follows the release in October 2006 by SNA of an analysis of the local wellness policies approved for the 100 largest school districts by enrollment.
Among the key findings of this second report on the local wellness policies approved by 140 school districts in 49 states:
- 98.6% address school meal nutrition standards. (Note that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set federal nutrition standards for meals served through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.)
- 88.6% address nutrition standards for a la carte foods and beverages.
- 87% address nutrition standards for foods and beverages available in vending machines.
- 69% address nutrition standards/guidelines for fundraisers held during school hours.
- 65.7% address nutrition standards/guidelines for classroom celebrations or parties.
- 55% address nutrition standards/guidelines for teachers using foods as rewards in the classroom.
- 72.5% of school districts address a recess requirement for at least elementary grade levels.
- 91.7% require physical activity for at least some grade levels.
- 95% require nutrition education for at least some grade levels.
89% outlined a plan for implementation and evaluation, utilizing the superintendent, school nutrition director or wellness policy task force as the entity responsible for monitoring the policy.
The full report is available through Related Links.