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Local School Wellness Policy Information

In recognition of the critical role schools play in promoting student health, preventing obesity, and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act in 2004, which required all local education agencies (LEAs) that participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program to develop and implement a local school wellness policy. This legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so that the individual needs of each LEA could be addressed.

In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hun​​ger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Sec. 204 of Public Law 111-296 , and added new provisions related to the implementation, evaluation, and public reporting on local school wellness policies. On July 29, 2016, the final rule on wellness policies was published in the Federal Register . The final rule strengthened the requirements for public involvement, transparency, implementation and assessment of the wellness policy among other topics. Regulations from the final rule (7 CFR 210.31​) require the local school wellness policy to: 

  • Permit 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 wellness policy.

  • Identify 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 policy.

  • Inform and update the public (including parents, students, and others in the community) about the content and implementation of the local school wellness policy.

  • Ensure the wellness policy includes all of the required components:

    • Specific goals for nutrition promotion, nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. LEAs 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:

    • Policies for other foods and beverages available on the school campus during the school day (e.g., in classroom parties, shared classroom snacks, 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 the plan for public involvement, public updates, policy leadership, and assessment plan.

Resources Developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pennsylvania School Boards Association Resources

​ Other Resources