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 of 2010 and added new provisions for local school wellness policies related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting on progress of local school wellness policies. 

Implementation Timeline

  • As of School Year 2006-2007, all schools/districts were required to establish a LWP
  • For School Year 2013-2014, schools/districts are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their LWP’s and implementing the new requirements. Schools/districts will be held accountable for LWP implementation, assessment, and public updates.

Local Wellness Policy Minimum Requirements

  • Include goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness.
  • Include nutrition guidelines to promote student health and reduce childhood obesity for all foods available in each school district.
  • 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, and review and update of the local wellness policy.
  • Inform and update the public (including parents, students, and others in the community) about the content and implementation of local wellness policies.
  • Be measured periodically on the extent to which schools are in compliance with the local wellness policy, the extent to which the local education agency’s local wellness policy compares to model local school wellness policies, and the progress made in attaining the goals of the local wellness policy, and make this assessment available to the public.

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

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

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 - award was created as a way to recognize and celebrate 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 – award presented to schools who complete the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s benchmarks.  

National Organizations

  • 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.
  • Let's Move!  - is a comprehensive initiative, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama.  It is dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.
  • 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 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.
  • The School Nutrition Association is a national, nonprofit organization working to ensure all children have access to healthful school meals and nutrition education.
  • Food Research and Action Center has produced a School Wellness Policy and Practice: Meeting the Needs of Low-Income Students guide that provides sample policies, model programs and key research information that are important tools to address the nutrition concerns of low-income children and communities in the development of school wellness policies.


For questions about this information, contact Angela Paul (608) 267-9206