Does your school have a wellness policy? Do you know what it says?
School districts that participate in the National School Meals program or other federal child nutrition program have been required by law to have a school wellness policy in place since 2006. A school wellness policy must include goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. These policies are important in addressing issues such as childhood obesity, student health, and they assure that school meals meet federal nutrition guidelines.
During the 2013-14 school year, schools are being asked to review and assess their wellness policies and to update them accordingly. Evidence proves that physical activity and healthy, nutritious foods can help improve your child’s health and grade-point average. As schools engage in making health a larger priority, it is important that we, as parents or guardians, learn about and get involved in the school’s effort to do so. You have some say in this because schools are able to make policy at the local level so that individual districts’ needs are met. This also means teaching our children healthy habits at home.
Family-oriented physical activity, meals with lots of fruits and vegetables, reduced screen time, and replacing sugary beverages with milk or water can make a real difference in our kids’ health. These healthy habits must be carried on in the school as well so children receive a consistent message.
Good health is a community value, whether backed by the government, being taught at schools, or displayed in the home. The school is part of the community, and families can support the school’s efforts by learning more about and supporting the steps being taken by schools to keep our kids healthy in order to learn better.
Burrington is 5-2-1-0 study coordinator with the Bassett Healthcare Network Research Institute.