Federally Mandated School Wellness Policies and Other Health Strategies Due July 1
survey of parents of school-aged children conducted by the national
Action for Healthy Kids consortium found that while the majority of
parents want their children to get healthier food and more exercise at
school, nearly 85% were unaware that federal law requires their schools
to develop comprehensive wellness policies addressing these issues by
July 1, 2006.
They are also
unaware that the law specifies that parents, among other key
stakeholders, must be involved from the beginning in designing those
district policies, the survey found.
To fill this
information gap and help schools meet the new federal mandate with
policies that make a real difference, the Healthy Schools Campaign
conducted a series of public awareness programs entitled "The Student
Body Challenge: Making Student Health and Fitness a School Policy." The
first step was a series of Community Forums designed to inform local
communities about school wellness policies and the role they can play
in improving the school food environment, along with other school-based
"There is an
unprecedented, time-limited opportunity to make a real impact on school
wellness," said Rochelle Davis, founding executive director of the
Healthy Schools Campaign. "Parents, health advocates and other
concerned citizens are in a unique position to get involved in shaping
their school environments in the areas of healthy eating, nutrition
education and physical activity."
Under the new Federal mandate, each school will be required to adopt a Wellness Policy that includes:
(1) nutrition guidelines for all foods sold on school campus during the school day;
(2) setting school goals for nutrition education and physical activity;
(3) establishing community participation in creating local wellness policies; and
(4) creating a plan for measuring implementation of these wellness policies.
Schools Campaign is publishing and distributing a step-by-step guide,
including a model school wellness policy on CD-ROM that can be adapted
by school districts to fit their local needs.
initiatives are a response to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity
and related illnesses among children and teens, which is linked with
the consumption of nutrient-poor fast food and decreased physical
activity. The sharp rise in the number of children diagnosed with type
II diabetes and other obesity-related health problems may even result
to shortened life expectancy for the current generation of school
positively impact student health. By improving nutrition and physical
education and by creating health-based standards for the foods sold in
schools, we can improve both student health and the learning
environment," said Davis. "To continue to serve unhealthy foods and not
teach basics of nutrition would be to act without regard for the next
the Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) is a leading authority on healthy
school environments and an increasingly powerful political voice for
people who want healthier children, better education and a cleaner
environment. HSC works with a broad network of individuals and
organizations that includes parents, teachers, school administrators,
students, public health advocates, education advocates and community
leaders on issues such as indoor air quality management and sustainable
school design, green cleaning, diesel school bus emissions, hazardous
waste, and the growing problem of childhood obesity.
For more information on the Healthy Schools Campaign, visit www.healthyschoolscampaign.org.