PCRM Provides Wellness Policy Resources to School Groups
As schools around the country prepared to create their federally mandated local wellness policies, PCRM nutritionists created and distributed a list of requirements and resources to help local administrators implement healthy and effective guidelines. Each school’s wellness policy must be implemented in the upcoming 2006-07 school year, according to the 2004 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, and is required for any school that participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs. The policy must include goals for nutrition education and physical fitness and nutrition guidelines for food sold on campus.
These wellness policies provide a unique opportunity for schools to have a major impact on student health and well-being. Given that obesity rates have doubled for children and tripled for adolescents over the last two decades, schools must make nutrition and physical activity a priority. Each school will be able to decide on its own wellness policy and guidelines, but they should be based on scientific research and exemplary practices of other schools.
PCRM’s Local Wellness Policy Requirements and Resources fact sheet has an explanation of the wellness policy requirements, as well as specific suggestions on policies to implement. PCRM’s suggested nutritional guidelines stress including more plant-based foods that are naturally low in fat, high in fiber, and contain zero cholesterol. The guidelines also include specific numbers for the amount of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and fiber that should be included in the meals. Also included are suggestions for nutrition education and other activities that promote student wellness.
What You Can Do
The first wellness policies must be created by July, 2006, and it is important to become involved in making positive additions and changes to the policy in the future. Download the Local Wellness Policy Requirements and Resources fact sheet to find out more about the important role you can play in a creating a healthy school environment.
Please use this information to help with the improvement of school wellness policies in your community, whether it’s attending school board meetings, writing a letter, joining a wellness committee, or working directly with your school’s food service.