Local School Wellness Policies in 2017, Here’s What You Need to Know


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In July 2016, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) finalized regulations that create guidelines for written wellness policies established by local educational agencies (LEAs). The final rule requires LEAs to develop revised local school wellness policies during School Year 2016-2017. Schools must be compliant with these requirements by June 30, 2017.

To meet the minimum requirements set by the USDA’s FNS, all schools participating in the National School Lunch program or School Breakfast program will have to ensure that they:

  • Include goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote students wellness. In developing these goals, local educational agencies must review and consider evidence-based strategies.
  • Include nutrition guidelines for all foods sold on each school campus during the school day must be consistent with federal regulations for school meals and Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
  • Include policies for foods and beverages made available to students (e.g., in classroom parties, classroom snacks brought by parents, other foods given as incentives).
  • Include food and beverage marketing and advertising of only those foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
  • 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 school wellness policy.
  • Identify one or more school districts or school officials who have the authority and responsibility to ensure each school complies with the policy.
  • Inform and update the public (including parents, students, and others in the community) about the local school wellness policy on an annual basis.
  • At least once every three years, measure the extent to which schools are in compliance with the local school 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.

Learn more about this from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs) website on school wellness policies and from the USDA’s summary of the final rule.

Access the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Model School Wellness Policy (template) here.

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