Taking School Breakfast to the Next Level:
Including School Breakfast in Wellness Policies
As part of the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, Congress required school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program to develop and implement a local school wellness policy. The wellness policy must contain the following elements:
- Goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness in a manner that the local educational agency determines appropriate;
- Nutrition guidelines for all foods available on the school campus during the school day;
- Assurances that guidelines for school meals are not less restrictive than those set by USDA;
- A plan for measuring implementation of the local wellness policy; and,
- Parents, students, and representatives of the school food authority, the school board, school administrators, and the public are involved in developing the local wellness policy.
Re-visiting a district's wellness policy can open up a dialogue to help schools make breakfast a priority as part of the overall school nutrition environment. Each of the five required components listed above is an opportunity to help your school district improve access, participation and quality of school breakfast. By getting involved as the policy is developed, you can help strengthen school breakfast so that more kids, families and schools benefit!
Wellness committees can use this chart [PDF] to examine key questions about the current school breakfast program, and what areas may need further exploration to support breakfast as a part of student health.