To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.
W is for WELLNESS Policies
School WELLNESS was the hot topic today at the White House. According to the USDA press release:
“Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joins U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies. The bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandated that the USDA set guidelines for what needed to be included in local school wellness policies in areas such as setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, informing parents about content of the policy and implementation, and periodically assessing progress and sharing updates as appropriate.”
I’ve been a fan of strong, effective Local Wellness Policies since they were first required in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 2004. The changes mandated by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 have the real potential to strengthen wellness environments in schools. However, they have to be implemented – rather than just sitting on the shelf in someone’s office. The key is a strong, effective wellness committee – administrators, teachers, nutrition staff, parents and students – working together.
Need a model wellness policy? I highly recommend the South Dakota Model Wellness Policy, developed by a coalition of South Dakota school and health professionals – and approved by their State Board of Education in September 2012. It meets all the requirements – and provides links to many resources.