SCHOOL WELLNESS POLICY
Each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.
Local 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.
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 LEAs 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 wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each LEA 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 February 26, 2014, the proposed rule for wellness policies was published in the Federal Register. The public comment period closed on April 28, 2014. FNS appreciates the valuable comments provided by stakeholders and the public. FNS received 57,838 public comments that included 546 distinct submissions and 57,285 form letters that were submitted through four large letter campaigns and four small letter campaigns. FNS considered all comments in the development of this final rule.
On July 21, 2016, the final rule was published in the Federal Register. The final rule strengthens the requirements on public involvement, transparency, implementation, and evaluation among other topics.