School Wellness Policies Must be Revised for the 2017-18 School Year

Lozano Smith Client News Brief
July 2017
Number 35

Local educational agencies (LEAs) that participate in the national school lunch and school breakfast programs must update their school wellness policies to include new requirements for the 2017-18 school year. The requirements were included in regulations finalized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service in 2016.

LEAs that participate in federal breakfast and lunch programs are required to create school wellness policies that describe methods participating schools will use to promote student wellness and to prevent and reduce childhood obesity. The new regulations create a framework and guidelines for revising these policies. The USDA provided guidance on the regulations in an April 6, 2017 guidance document.

According to the guidance document, a school wellness policy must include:

  • Specific goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness;

  • Nutritional standards for all foods and beverages available on campus during the school day that are, at a minimum, consistent with federal standards for meals and snacks;

  • Requirements that limit marketing and advertising of foods and beverages to those that may be sold on campus during the day because they meet the wellness policy's nutritional standards;

  • The identity of the school official(s) responsible for the implementation and oversight of the school wellness policy to ensure each school's compliance with the policy;

  • A description of how parents, students, the public and specified school officials and employees will be given an opportunity to participate inthe development, implementation and periodic review and update of the
    local school wellness policy; and

  • A description of the plan for measuring the implementation of the local school wellness policy, and for reporting local school wellness policy issues to the public.

LEAs must also assess their schools' compliance with the policy once every three years. Progress on goals and updates to the policy must be reported to the general public and school community on an annual basis and as part of this assessment process.

The USDA has stated that LEAs must update their school wellness policies by June 30, 2017. Lozano Smith is prepared to assist districts to quickly revise and update their school wellness policies as soon as possible in preparation for the new school year. For guidance on developing appropriate school wellness policies, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or download our Client News Brief App.

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As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.