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School wellness policies final rule


Published January 2017

Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies (LEAs), school districts, and nonpublic schools in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum federal school meal standards.

  • In 2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and
  • Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act (Sec. 204 o). This act required all LEAs participating in the National School Lunch
  • Program or other child nutrition programs create local school wellness policies by School Year 2006.
  • In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Sec. 204 of Public Law 111-296), and added new provisions for local school wellness policies related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting on progress of local school wellness policies.
  • In 2014, the proposed rule for wellness policies was published in the Federal Register for public comments.
  • On July 21, 2016, the final rule was published in the Federal Register. The final rule strengthens the requirements on
  • public involvement, transparency, implementation, and evaluation among other topics. The final rule requires districts and
  • non-public schools to begin revising local wellness policies during the 2016-2017 school year and fully comply with the final rule by June 30, 2017.

School wellness policies are reviewed every three years by the Bureau of Nutrition and Health Service as part of the
Administrative Review of Child Nutrition programs. The following are common Local Wellness Policy (LWP) non-compliance findings.

  • Lack of various stakeholders on wellness committee
  • Lack of documentation to show who was invited and/or attended committee meetings
  • Wellness Committee does not assess implementation at each building
  • LWP has not been reviewed or updated
  • Updates have not been made available to the public
  • LWP is a template that has not been individualized to the district
  • Lack of leadership overseeing compliance

Resources to support wellness policy development, implementation, and assessment:

Local Wellness Policy Outreach Kit: designed to engage school staff and parents in school wellness efforts. The kit provides ready-to-go communication tools.
Sample Wellness Policy: Developed in partnership with the Iowa Association School Boards. Due to the substantive changes, the policy and regulation have been rewritten in their entirety.
Dioceses of Dubuque: has an excellent sample wellness policy for non-public schools to use as a guide.
Example Nonpublic Policy.
For questions, contact Patti Delger at 515-281-5676 or

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on October 19, 2021 at 11:01am.