What is a Local Wellness Policy? How do I get involved?

Healthy Food Choices in Schools March 11, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Schools represent an immense opportunity for influencing the health and wellness of future generations. In recognition of this, Congress passed the Child Nutrition WIC Reauthorization Act in 2004 which required any local educational agency (LEA) that participates in national child nutrition programming to establish a local school wellness policy (LWP).  In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed which placed new provisions on the LWPs with more emphasis on implementation, evaluation and public reporting of LWP progress.  In the chart below you can see a summary of the various elements required within a LWP.

The chart identifies a few key points. First, the LWP is becoming more dynamic. School districts and LEAs across the country are to make goals and then set-up systems for implementation and evaluation. This means that many school districts are trying to determine what systems and strategies are best for their schools, communities and children. Second, a new system will be in place for monitoring and reporting progress related to LWPs. School districts have been advised to keep a copy of the following supporting documents to assist with this process:Schools represent an immense opportunity for influencing the health and wellness of future generations. In recognition of this, Congress passed the Child Nutrition WIC Reauthorization Act in 2004 which required any local educational agency (LEA) that participates in national child nutrition programming to establish a local school wellness policy (LWP).  In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed which placed new provisions on the LWPs with more emphasis on implementation, evaluation and public reporting of LWP progress.  In the chart below you can see a summary of the various elements required within a LWP.

  •  A copy of the current Local School Wellness Policy
  • Documentation demonstrating the Local School Wellness Policy has been made available to the public
  • Documentation of the district’s efforts to review and update the Local School Wellness Policy, including an indication of who is involved in the update and methods the district uses to make stakeholders aware of their ability to participate
  • A copy of the districts’ most recent assessment on the implementation of the Local School Wellness Policy
  • Documentation demonstrating the district’s most recent assessment on the implementation of the Local School Wellness Policy has been made available to the public
  • Courtesy of the USDA Local School Wellness Policy Website

There are several ways that you get involved. We suggest that you first contact your school district office and ask for the location of the LWP. Once you have a chance to peruse the current LWP you can reach out to those committee members responsible for items which you’ve taken interest. As always, be polite and ask if there are any ways you can assist them! 


Contributor 

Kate Hoy, Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.