Healthy Eating

Nutrition: School Wellness

Local Wellness Policy Law

The Child Nutrition and Women, Infants and Children Reauthorization Act of 2004 requires all educational entities participating in the National School Lunch Program to establish local school wellness policies. In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act regulations added Section 9A to expand upon the previous local wellness policy requirement from the Reauthorization.

The 2010 legislation strengthens wellness policies by emphasizing ongoing implementation and assessment. This provision also supports a robust process at the community level, including the expansion of the team of collaborators participating in the wellness policy development. This approach is intended to foster broad-based support for effective wellness policies.

The local education agency (LEA) is required to inform and update the public (including parents and students) about the content and implementation of the local wellness policies (typically posted on the school or district website). LEAs are also required to measure and make available to the public periodic assessments of the local wellness policy, including:

  • The extent to which schools are in compliance with the local wellness policy.
  • The extent to which the LEA's local wellness policy compares to model local school wellness policies.
  • The progress made in attaining the goals of the local wellness policy.

Finally, the Act requires LEAs to designate officials, as appropriate, to ensure that each school complies with the local school wellness policy.

Components of the Local Wellness Policy regulations:

  • Goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities.
  • Nutrition guidelines for all foods available on each school campus during the school day.
  • Guidelines for reimbursable school meals that are no less restrictive than those issued for the National School Lunch Program.
  • Implementation and evaluation plans of the local wellness policy.
  • Community involvement.
  • Nutrition promotion.

Learn more

Minnesota Department of Education: Resources to assist in local wellness policy requirements, as well as offering checklists and action plan templates

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food and Nutrition Service - Local School Wellness Policy: Wellness policy reference materials and sample policies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Resources to help in designing, implementing and promoting policies. "School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Youth" includes evidence-based guidance for schools on how to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The guidelines serve as the foundation for developing, implementing, and evaluating school-based policies and practices for K-12 grade students.

Updated Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 08:19AM