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Big News in School Wellness!

The USDA has finally released their final rule on School Wellness Policies, as directed by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was passed six years ago.

This final rule, along with three others relating to school nutrition, was released in late July, 2016.

The Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition weighed in on the draft school wellness rules while they were open for public comment, in the spring of 2014. We supported the requirement that all schools have school wellness councils that are made of community members, e.g. parents, teachers, representatives of local health organizations, and so on. We also supported the requirement that there be a single point person for each school’s wellness policies, and also that schools report on their progress. Finally, we strongly supported the proposal that schools not allow marketing of foods that do not meet nutrition standards for what can be sold in campus.

We are pleased to report that all of those provisions made it into the final rule, *except* for a weakening of the reporting requirements, from every year to every three years.

We look forward to working with Oregon administrators and policy-makers to ensure good local implementation of this important new law.

 

School Wellness Rule summary:
“The final rule requires each local educational agency to establish minimum content requirements for the local school wellness policies, ensure stakeholder participation in the development and updates of such policies, and periodically assess and disclose to the public schools’ compliance with the local school wellness policies. These regulations are expected to result in local school wellness policies that strengthen the ability of a local educational agency to create a school nutrition environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn. In addition, these regulations will increase transparency for the public with regard to school wellness policies and contribute to integrity in the school nutrition program.”

Re. Marketing:

The final rule clarifies that in-school marketing of food and beverage items must meet competitive foods standards. See §210.30(c)(3).

Additionally, the final rule clarifies what is and is not subject to policies for food and beverage marketing in schools. See §210.30(c)(3).

For more information, see:

Civil Eats article: USDA Finalizes School Nutrition Rules: What You Need to Know

summary from CSPI about the junk food marketing piece
one page summary about just the school wellness rule from USDA
Federal Register, July 29, 2016

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