You are here

School Wellness Policy

In 2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act.  This act required by law that all school districts participating in any federally subsidized child nutrition programs (e.g., National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast, Program, Special Milk Program and After School Snack Program) establish a local school wellness policy (LWP) by the beginning of the 2006-07 school year.  In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) and added new provisions related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting on progress of local school wellness policies. On July 29, 2016 the USDA released the final rule on local school wellness policies. ​

Implementation Timeline

  • For School Year 2016-2017, all schools/districts must begin developing a revised local school wellness policy.
  • By June 30, 2017 schools/districts must fully comply with the requirements of the final rule.
  • The first assessment should be completed within three years of the policy being updated, but no later than June 30, 2020 to be in compliance with the final rule. 

For more information on policy requirements, basic steps, and sample policies, visit USDA’s Team Nutrition Wellness Policy webpage.

Resources – a number of resources have been developed to help schools strengthen, implement, and evaluate wellness policies. 

  • Local Wellness Policy Webinar will walk schools through the requirements set forth in the final rule of Local School Wellness Policy Implementation under the HHFKA of 2010.
  • Local Wellness Policy Checklist is a resource that will help schools determine if all content areas are included in their school wellness policy.
  • Wisconsin Wellness: Putting Policy into Practice is an interactive, web-based resource designed to assist school districts with developing comprehensive policies that incorporate new policy requirements while establishing a framework for accountability. The resource provides information on required policy components and provides sample goals and objectives for each content area.
  • Local Wellness Policy Builder is an online tool designed to assist schools/districts in creating comprehensive school wellness policies that meet the final rule established by the USDA in August 2016.
  • Local Wellness Policy Report Card Online Tool - Wisconsin Team Nutrition has created this tool for schools/districts to use as a method for evaluating their policy and communicating the results to the public. The Local Wellness Policy Report Card Online Tool allows schools/districts to enter policy-specific objectives and evaluate to what extent the objectives were achieved. Following completion of the tool, a report card is generated.
  • Model Local School Wellness Policy - can be used by schools to help develop their wellness policy and meet the minimum requirements for local school wellness policy implementation. This policy was developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and was thoroughly reviewed by the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service. It is compliant with the statutory requirements for local school wellness policies, as per the final regulation.
  • USDA's Putting Local School Wellness Policies into Action: Stories from School Districts and Schools a compilation of 11 stories that provide examples of steps and strategies used to implement wellness policies including improving school meals and increasing physical activity opportunities for students.
  • For additional resources, please visit the Resources for School Wellness webpage.

Celebrate School Wellness Success

  • HealthierUS School Challenge – is a voluntary certification initiative that has recognized thousands of schools for their efforts in improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices and being physically active, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies.
  • Wisconsin Health Award - is an award that recognizes and celebrates schools with policies, programs, and the infrastructure to support and promote healthy eating; physical activity; alcohol-, tobacco-, and drug-free lifestyles; and parental and community involvement.
  • Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award – is an award presented to schools who complete the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s benchmarks.  

National Organizations

   team nutrition logo
  • USDA’s Team Nutrition is an initiative to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.
action for healthy kids logo
  • Action for Healthy Kids fights childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can live healthier lives by engaging diverse organizations, leaders and volunteers.
fuel up to play 60 logo
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program founded by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with USDA that empowers students to take charge in making small, everyday changes at school.
school nutrition association logo
  • The School Nutrition Association is a national, nonprofit organization working to ensure all children have access to healthful school meals and nutrition education.
cdc healthy schools logo