Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: School Wellness Policies

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As society becomes more aware of and concerned with children’s health issues, communities are turning to schools to provide an environment that promotes both healthy eating and physical activity. School policies supporting healthy eating and physical activity are an important component of school efforts to promote the health and well-being of school children. Good nutrition and physical activity help improve academic performance, attendance rates, behavior, and lifelong health and well-being of students. Strong school wellness policies can help schools achieve their health and wellness goals.  The Public Health Law Center developed a series of sample school wellness policies to fit in the Minnesota School Boards Association's model school wellness policy.

Going Beyond School Wellness Policies (2015)

While student wellness is strongly influenced by the specific school wellness policies, many other policies and procedures also impact student wellness. For this reason, it is most effective to take a holistic approach when doing a policy review around school wellness. This document has been developed to be used as a guide to identifying other school board policies, rules and regulations that should be analyzed as advocates update school wellness policies.

School Wellness Policies: Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a movement focused on increasing the number of children who walk or bike to school. Safe Routes to School initiatives can include both policies and programs that support safe, efficient, and enjoyable opportunities for children to walk or bike to and from school.  This sample policy outlines language for Safe Routes to School policies.

 

 Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: Recess

Recess is typically a break from class room activities when children can engage in unstructured free play. Recess policies can encourage children to be more active by supporting physical activity during the school day.  This sample policy outlines language for active recess policies.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: Physical Education

Physical education is a part of the school curriculum that helps students enhance motor skills, develop fitness, and learn more about the importance of physical activity.  School-based PE provides students with opportunities to increase physical activity and acquire the skills and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active lifestyle. This sample policy outlines language for robust physical education policies.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: Farm to School

Farm to School programs bring together schools and local farms so that school cafeterias are able to serve fresher and more nutritious  meals using locally produced food. Farm to school programs are generally created to help students eat more nutritious foods and develop healthier lifelong eating patterns, support the local economy andlocal farmers, and integrate food-related education into the classroom curriculum.  This sample policy outlines language for Farm to School policies.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: School Gardens 

School gardens provide a dynamic environment for students to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn.  A school garden is a “living laboratory” where lessons are drawn from real life experiences, allowing students to be more active participants in the learning process. School gardens offer opportunities for fun, physical activity, and improved nutrition.  This sample policy outlines language for school garden policies

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: Healthy Fundraising

Schools should be places where healthy eating and active living are promoted. The traditional “bake sale” promotes the consumption of unhealthy foods. Healthy fundraising establishes consistency between the school’s wellness policy and its fundraising activities.  This sample policy outlines language for healthy fundraising policies.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: Healthy Concessions

School concession stands sell food and beverages to spectators and participants at school functions such as sports or social events, and are frequently operated by booster clubs, parent groups, or other groups that have a relationship to the school. Healthy concessions provide an important opportunity to offer nutritious foods to children, their families, and the community.  This sample policy outlines language for healthy concessions policies.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: Healthy Classroom Snacks and Celebrations

With daily snacks and frequent holiday and birthday parties, many snack and celebratory foods are served in schools. Usually, though, foods served as snacks and during parties are unhealthy (such as pizza, sugary drinks, cake, ice cream, or candy). Providing healthy classroom snacks and celebrations is a way to take advantage of snacks and parties and create opportunities for students to learn about healthy eating.  This sample policy outlines language for healthy classroom snack and celebration policies.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: School Health Councils

School Health Councils bring together school personnel and community members who are interested in creating and maintaining a healthy environment for students. Developing a School Health Council is a critical step in promoting health and wellness in schools.  This sample policy outlines language for creating and sustaining a School Health Council.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: “No Punishment or Reward” Policies

“No punishment or reward” policies restrict school staff from using food as a reward or from withholding food or physical activity opportunities as a punishment. These policies can help create and promote healthy habits and behaviors.  This sample policy outlines language to ensure physical activity and food are not used as a punishment or reward.

   

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: The Active Classroom

An active classroom provides opportunities for physical activity to students throughout the school day as part of classroom activities. Providing a supportive, active classroom setting gives students opportunities to be physically active while teaching them new strategies for active living.  This sample policy outlines language for an active classroom.