School Wellness & Smart Snacks
Schools play an essential role in creating a healthy environment for students to grow and learn every day. Schools not only provide nutritious meals and time for physical activity, but they also educate Idaho's children about the importance of nutrition and physical fitness. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that good nutrition and physical activity contribute to improved academic performance, attendance rates, behavior and lifelong health, and well-being.
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 directed the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold to students in school during the school day, including foods sold through school fundraisers. The Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards will help make the healthy choice the easy choice by offering the students more of the foods and beverages that research has shown are essential for health. These options include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, leaner protein, and lower-fat dairy.
Wellness Policy Requirements
Federal legislation requires school districts to implement a local wellness policy that must include language:
- Permitting parents, students, school board, PE teachers, school health professionals, school food service staff, administrators, and community members to participate in the development, implementation, review, and update of the local wellness policy.
- Identifying wellness policy leadership of one or more LEA and/or school official(s) who have the authority and responsibility to ensure each school complies with the wellness policy.
- Specifying measurable goals for nutrition education, nutrition promotion, physical activity, and other school-based activities to promote student wellness that are written with consideration for evidence-based strategies.
- Addressing nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages sold on the school campus during the school day and for providing school meals that adhere to Federal meal pattern requirements.
- Identifying nutrition standards for non-sold foods and beverages available during classroom and school celebrations.
- Stating a policy for food and beverage marketing that allows the marketing and advertising of only those foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.
- Addressing an evaluation conducted once every three years of the wellness policy and the extent to which schools are in compliance, how the district policy compares to model wellness policies, and the progress made in attaining local wellness policy goals.
- Identifying a way to share the wellness policy content and implementation with the public.
There is a Summary of the Final Rule for Local School Wellness Policies posted on the FNS Website. This resource provides a brief description of the background of the rule, summary of the updates to the wellness policy requirements, and a list of resources.