Wellness Policy-Physical Activity and Nutrition

Policy Approve By
Scott McCallum, Superintendent
Policy Date (original policy date)
Policy Prepared By
Bob Lonnee, Food Service Manager 1; Karen Mowry, Director of On-Campus Programs; Robin Williams, RN; Jennifer Butcher, Fit for Life Teacher
Policy Category
Administrative

PREAMBLE:

Whereas, children need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive;

Whereas, good health fosters student attendance and education;

Whereas, obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two decades, and physical inactivity and excessive calorie intake are the predominant causes of obesity;

Whereas, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the United States, and major risk factors for those diseases, including unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, and obesity, often are established in childhood;

Whereas, nationally, the items most commonly sold from school vending machines, school stores, and snack bars include low-nutrition foods and beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, imitation fruit juices, chips, candy, cookies, and snack cakes;

Whereas, school districts around the country are facing significant fiscal and scheduling constraints; and

Whereas, community participation is essential to the development and implementation of successful school wellness policies;

Whereas, children and youth with visual impairments can have a propensity to be less physically active and are often denied the opportunity to participate fully in school sport and fitness programs, a strong wellness program becomes even more important for these students. Often students who have been integrated in general physical education tend to feel high degrees of failure due to the lack of adaptation of activities which can develop emotions of fear and frustration.

Thus, WSSB will engage this population by providing a non-threatening, success oriented environment that will teach lifetime fitness skills. WSSB excites youth about physical activity through its Fit for Life Program. The program is designed to expose each student to a wide variety of sport and fitness activities, allows students to discover their own fitness interests and develops the knowledge and skill necessary for students to maintain physical, mental, and social well-being. WSSB students learn how to access, monitor, and excel in each activity they are interested in pursuing. The students will begin the program with full assistance and instruction. As knowledge and skill increase, students will become more responsible and independent in initiating and incorporating their physical activities.  Along with increasing cardiovascular functioning, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and positive self-esteem, students who complete the program will have the desire and ability to independently live a healthy active lifestyle. 

  • WSSB will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing WSSB’s nutrition and physical activity policies.
  • All students in grades K-12 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at WSSB will meet the nutrition recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide students with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students; will accommodate the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe, and pleasant settings and adequate time for students to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, WSSB will participate in available federal school meal programs (including the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program [including after-school snacks], Summer Food Service Program, Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program [including suppers]).
  • WSSB will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.

TO ACHIEVE THESE POLICY GOALS:

I.    School Health Councils

WSSB will create, strengthen, or work within existing school health councils to develop, implement, monitor, review, and, as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies.  The councils also will serve as resources to school sites for implementing those policies.  (A school health council consists of a group of individuals representing the school and community, and should include parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, members of the Board of Trustees, school administrators, teachers, health professionals, and members of the public.).

II.  Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Sold and Served on Campus

      School Meals

      Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:

  • be appealing and attractive to children;
  • be served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations;
  • offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;
  • serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA); and
  • ensure that half of the served grains are whole grain.

WSSB should engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys, in selecting foods sold through the school meal programs in order to identify new, healthful, and appealing food choices. In addition, schools should share information about the nutritional content of meals with parents and students. Such information could be made available on menus, a website, on cafeteria menu boards, placards, or other point-of-purchase materials.

Breakfast. To ensure that all children have breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • WSSB will, to the extent possible, operate the School Breakfast Program.
  • WSSB will, to the extent possible, arrange bus schedules and utilize methods to serve school breakfasts that encourage participation, including serving breakfast in the classroom, “grab-and-go” breakfast, or breakfast during morning break or recess upon request.
  • WSSB will notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program.
  • WSSB will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.

Free and Reduced-priced Meals. WSSB will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. Toward this end, schools may utilize electronic identification and payment systems; provide meals at no charge to all children, regardless of income; promote the availability of school meals to all students; and/or use nontraditional methods for serving school meals, such as “grab-and-go” or classroom breakfast.

Meal Times and Scheduling.  WSSB:

  • will provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch;
  • should schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between 11am and 1pm;
  • should not schedule tutoring, club, or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities.
  • will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks; and
  • should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).

Qualifications of School Food Service Staff. Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the school meal programs. As part of WSSB’s responsibility to operate a food service program, we will provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals in schools. Staff development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child nutrition directors, school nutrition managers, and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of responsibility.

Sharing of Foods and Beverages.  Schools should discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.

Foods and Beverages Sold Individually (i.e. foods sold outside of reimbursable school meals, such as through vending machines, cafeteria a la carte [snack] lines, fundraisers, school stores, etc.)

Elementary Schools. The school food service program will approve and provide all food and beverage sales to students in the elementary school. Given young children’s limited nutrition skills, food in elementary schools should be sold as balanced meals.  If available, foods and beverages sold individually should be limited to low-fat and non-fat milk, fruits, and non-fried vegetables.

Middle/Junior High and High Schools. In middle/junior high and high school, all foods and beverages sold individually outside the reimbursable school meal programs (including those sold through a la carte [snack] lines, vending machines, student stores, or fundraising activities) during the school day, or through programs for students after the school day, will meet the following nutrition and portion size standards:

Beverages

  • Allowed: water or seltzer water without added caloric sweeteners; fruit and vegetable juices and fruit-based drinks that contain at least 50% fruit juice and that do not contain additional caloric sweeteners; unflavored or flavored low-fat or fat-free fluid milk and nutritionally-equivalent nondairy beverages (to be defined by USDA);
  • WSSB students operate an on-campus coffee shop/bean roasting business as part of an educational work experience course. Students are educated in responsible caffeine and sugar intake. Emphasis is placed on choosing beverages containing natural and not extra added sugars.
  • During off-campus trips students are limited in their purchasing of such items. These items are not allowed in the school cafeteria at any time nor are they allowed as a beverage substitute at any meal.
  • Not allowed: soft drinks containing caloric sweeteners; sports drinks; iced teas; fruit-based drinks that contain less than 50% real fruit juice or that contain additional caloric sweeteners; beverages containing caffeine, excluding low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk (which contain trivial amounts of caffeine).

Foods

  • A food item sold individually:
  • will have no more than 35% of its calories from fat (excluding nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and other nut butters) and 10% of its calories from saturated and trans fat combined;
  • will have no more than 35% of its weight from added sugars;
  • will contain no more than 230mg of sodium per serving for chips, cereals, crackers, French fries, baked goods, and other snack items; will contain no more than 480mg of sodium per serving for pastas, meats, and soups; and will contain no more than 600mg of sodium for pizza, sandwiches, and main dishes.
  • A choice of at least two fruits and/or non-fried vegetables will be offered for sale at WSSB where foods are sold. Such items could include, but are not limited to, fresh fruits and vegetables; 100% fruit or vegetable juice; fruit-based drinks that are at least 50% fruit juice and that do not contain additional caloric sweeteners; cooked, dried, or canned fruits (canned in fruit juice or light syrup); and cooked, dried, or canned vegetables (that meet the above fat and sodium guidelines).

ortion Sizes

Limit portion sizes of foods and beverages sold individually to those listed below:

  • 1-1/4 ounces for chips, crackers, popcorn, cereal, trail mix, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or jerky;
  • 1 ounce for cookies;
  • 2 ounces for cereal bars, granola bars, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, bagels, and other bakery items;
  • 4 fluid ounces for frozen desserts, including, but not limited to, low-fat or fat-free ice cream;
  • 8 ounces for non-frozen yogurt;
  • 12 fluid ounces for beverages, excluding water; and
  • the portion size of a la carte entrees and side dishes, including potatoes, will not be greater than the size of comparable portions offered as part of school meals. Fruits and non-fried vegetables are exempt from portion-size limits.

Fundraising Activities. To support children’s health and school nutrition-education efforts, fundraising activities will not involve food or will use only foods that meet the above nutrition and portion size standards for foods and beverages sold individually. WSSB will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity. WSSB will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities.

Snacks. Snacks served during the school day or in after-school programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage.  WSSB will assess if and when to offer snacks based on timing of school meals, children’s nutritional needs, children’s ages, and other considerations. WSSB will disseminate a list of healthful; snack items to teachers after-school program personnel, and parents.

  • If eligible, schools that provide snacks through after-school programs will pursue receiving reimbursements through the National School Lunch Program.

Rewards. WSSB will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above), as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school meals) as a punishment. 

Celebrations. WSSB should limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more than one party per class per month. Each party should include no more than one food or beverage that does not meet nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above). WSSB will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.

School-sponsored Events (such as, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, or performances). Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events outside the school day will meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (above).

III. Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing

Nutrition Education and Promotion. WSSB aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. Schools should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • is offered at each grade level as part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
  • is part of not only health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens;
  • promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
  • emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
  • links with school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services;
  • teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing; and
  • includes training for teachers and other staff.

Communications with Parents. WSSB will support parents’ efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. WSSB should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the above nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages. WSSB will provide parents a list of foods that meet WSSB’s snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities. In addition, WSSB will provide opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the school community.

WSSB will provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school. Such supports will include sharing information about physical activity and physical education through a website, newsletter, or other take-home materials, special events, or physical education homework.

Food Marketing in Schools. School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion.  As such, WSSB will limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (above). School-based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages is prohibited. The promotion of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products is encouraged.

Examples of marketing techniques include the following: logos and brand names on/in vending machines, books or curricula, textbook covers, school supplies, scoreboards, school structures, and sports equipment; educational incentive programs that provide food as a reward; programs that provide schools with supplies when families buy low-nutrition food products; in-school television, such as Channel One; free samples or coupons; and food sales through fundraising activities. Marketing activities that promote healthful behaviors (and are therefore allowable) include: vending machine covers promoting water; pricing structures that promote healthy options in a la carte lines or vending machines; sales of fruit for fundraisers; and coupons for discount gym memberships. 

Staff Nutrition and Wellness: WSSB highly values the health and well-being of every staff member and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

IV. Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

WAC 392-410-135 Physical education – Grade school and high school requirement.

(1)   Grades 1-8. Pursuant to RCW 28A.230.040, an average of at least one hundred instructional minutes per week per year in physical education shall be required of all pupils in the common schools in the grade school program (grades 1-8) unless waived pursuant to RCW 28A.230.040.

(2)   Grades 9-12. Pursuant to RCW 28A.230.050, a one credit course or its equivalent shall be offered in physical education for each grade in the high school program (grades 9-12).

Safe Routes to School. WSSB will assess and, if necessary and to the extent possible, make needed improvements to make it safer and easier for students to walk to school. When appropriate, WSSB will work together with local public works, public safety, and/or police departments in those efforts.

V.  Monitoring and Policy Review

Monitoring. The superintendent or designee will ensure compliance with established WSSB nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. WSSB’s principal or designee will ensure compliance with those policies and will report on WSSB’s compliance to the superintendent or designee.

School food service staff at WSSB will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the superintendent (or if done at the school level, to the school principal). In addition, WSSB will report on the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes. If WSSB has not received a SMI review from the state agency within the past five years, WSSB will request from the state agency that a SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible.

The superintendent or designee will develop a summary report every three years on WSSB compliance with the established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies, based on input from departments within WSSB. That report will be provided to the Board of Trustees and also distributed to all school health councils, parent/teacher organizations, school principal, and school health services personnel.

Policy Review. To help with the initial development of WSSB’s wellness policies, each department will conduct a baseline assessment of WSSB’s existing nutrition and physical activity environments and policies. The results of those assessments will be compiled to identify and prioritize needs.

Assessments will be repeated every three years to help review policy compliance, assess progress, and determine areas in need of improvement.  As part of that review, WSSB will review our nutrition and physical activity policies; provision of an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity; and nutrition and physical education policies and program elements.  WSSB will revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation