ATTENTION CO-OP DIRECTORS, CHILD NUTRITION DIRECTORS, WELLNESS COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND MEMBERS
The purpose of this memo is to update districts
on the federal requirements for local school wellness policies. Each local
educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or
other federal Child Nutrition programs is required by federal law to establish
a local wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.
Local school wellness
policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies (LEAs)
and school districts in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing
childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines
meet the minimum federal school meal standards and the Arkansas nutrition standards.
Congress recognizes that schools play a
critical role in promoting student health, preventing childhood obesity, and
combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity. In
2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition
Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act (Sec. 204 of Public Law 108-265). This act required by law that all districts
participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition
programs create local school wellness policies by School Year 2006. The
legislation places the responsibility of developing a district wellness policy at
the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed.
In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Sec. 204 of Public Law 111-296), and added new provisions for local
school wellness policies related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly
reporting on progress of local school wellness policies.
On July 21, 2016, the United States
Department of Agriculture Final Rule on Local Wellness Policy Implementation was
published in the Federal Register. The final rule strengthens the requirements
on public involvement, transparency, implementation, and evaluation among other
Overview of Requirements
- As of School Year 2006-2007, all districts were required
to establish a local school wellness policy.
The USDA Final Rule requires districts to develop and
adopt a revised local school wellness policy during School Year 2016-2017. Districts
must fully comply with the requirements of the final rule by June 30, 2017.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Permitting 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, review, and update of the
local wellness policy.
- Identifying wellness policy leadership of one or more district
and/or school official(s) who have the authority and responsibility to ensure
each school complies with the policy.
- Informing and updating the public (including parents,
students, and others in the community) about the content and implementation of
the local wellness policy.
- Ensuring the wellness policy includes all of the required
- Specific goals for nutrition promotion and education,
physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student
wellness. Districts are required to review and consider evidence-based
strategies in determining these goals.
- Nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages
available or for sale on the school campus during the school day that are
consistent with Federal regulations for:
- School meal nutrition standards,
- Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards; and
- Arkansas Nutrition Standards
- Policies for other foods and beverages available on the
school campus during the school day (e.g., in classroom parties, classroom
snacks brought by parents, or other foods given as incentives).
- Policies for food and beverage marketing that allow
marketing and advertising of only those foods and beverages that meet the Smart
Snacks in School nutrition standards.
- Description of public involvement, public updates, policy
leadership, and evaluation plan.
All districts must assess their wellness policy at least
once every three years on the extent to which schools are in compliance with
the district policy, the extent to which the local wellness policy compares to
model local school wellness policies, and the progress made in attaining the
goals of the local wellness policy. Districts must make this assessment
available to the public on an annual basis.
USDA has developed a
useful tool that summarizes the requirements listed above and may be shared
with Wellness Committee Members and the community: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/tn/LWPsummary_finalrule.pdf
Other useful wellness
policy tools from USDA may be found at:
Standards for School Meals information may be found at:
USDA Smart Snacks
information may be found at:
And, the Arkansas
Department of Education Rules Governing Nutrition, Physical Activity, and BMI
(updated May 2016) are attached.
If you have questions
or need assistance, please contact Stephanie Alsbrook or your district’s area
specialist at the Arkansas Child Nutrition Unit (501) 324-9502 or Audra Walters
with ADE School Health Services at (501) 683-3604.