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School Wellness Policies

Implementing a wellness policy is a tangible way for districts and schools to demonstrate concern for and improve students’ health.

Under the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, school districts that participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast program are required to develop local school wellness policies (LWPs) that address student nutrition and physical activity. The 2010 reauthorization expanded the scope of the program, requiring schools to (1) permit parents to participate in the development of LWPs, and (2) update and inform parents about the policies’ content and implementation. 

It is the right of all parents to be involved in decisions affecting their children’s health and well-being. 


What Should Be Included in a School Wellness Policy?

  • Nutrition education goals
  • Physical activity goals
  • Nutrition guidelines for all foods available on the school campus
  • Ways for parents, students, school administrators, the school board, the school food authority and the general public to get involved in developing and evaluating the wellness policy
  • Other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness
  • Plans for evaluating the school wellness policy


What Your PTA Can Do

  • To learn about your school district’s wellness policy, contact your district office and ask to speak to the person responsible for overseeing the policy’s implementation and evaluation.
  • Find out what the next steps in the district’s plan are. What upcoming activities are planned for implementation and evaluation? Does your school or district have a wellness council or similar group? Is the PTA represented?
  • Find out whether any parents are involved in the process of implementing and evaluating the policy. (Remember, parent participation is a right and requirement under the new law.) Work with the school district to find a way for your PTA to get involved.


For more information:

National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, Model School Wellness Policies

Action for Healthy Kids, Wellness Policy Tool

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Team Nutrition

CDC: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity: School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

Together Counts At School