Talfourd Lawn Elementary School’s Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition
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, 33% of high school students do not participate in sufficient vigorous physical activity and 72% of high school students do not attend daily physical education classes; Whereas, only 2% of children (2 to 19 years) eat a healthy diet consistent with the five main recommendations from the Food Guide Pyramid; 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, community participation is essential to the development and implementation of successful school wellness policies; Thus, The School is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children's health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of the School that:
The school will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing school-wide nutrition and physical activity policies.
All students in grades K-5 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
Foods and beverages sold or served at school 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, The School will participate in available federal school meal programs (including the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program [including after-school snacks], Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program, and Child Care Food Program.
School 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. Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Sold and Served in School
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;2
serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk3 and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA); and
ensure that half of the served grains are whole grain.
Schools 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:
School will, to the extent possible, operate the School Breakfast Program.
School will, to the extent possible, arrange bus schedules and utilize methods to serve school breakfasts that encourage participation, including serving breakfast in the classroom, or breakfast during morning break or recess.
School will notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program.
School will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.
Meal Times and Scheduling. School:
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 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.;
should not schedule tutoring, club, or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities;
will schedule lunch periods to proceed or follow recess periods;
will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks; and
Sharing of Foods and Beverages. Schools will 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. 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. Beverages
Allowed: water; 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);
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).
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 230 mg of sodium per serving for chips, cereals, crackers, French fries, baked goods, and other snack items; will contain no more than 480 mg of sodium per serving for pastas, meats, and soups; and will contain no more than 600 mg 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 any location on the school site 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).9
Limit portion sizes of foods and beverages to individually to those listed below:
One and one-quarter ounces for chips, crackers, popcorn, cereal, trail mix, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or jerky;
One ounce for cookies;
Two ounces for cereal bars, granola bars, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, bagels, and other bakery items;
Four fluid ounces for frozen desserts, including, but not limited to, low-fat or fat-free ice cream;
Eight ounces for non-frozen yogurt;
Twelve 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, school 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. Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity.
Rewards. The School will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for foods and beverages individually, 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. The School 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
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.
II. Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing
Nutrition Education and Promotion. The School 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;
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.
Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting. For students to receive the nationally-recommended amount of daily physical activity (i.e., at least 60 minutes per day) and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class. Toward that end:
classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons; and
classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate.
Communications with Parents. The school will support parents' efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The school will offer healthy eating seminars for parents, send home nutrition information, post nutrition tips on school websites, and provide nutrient analyses of school menus. School 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. The school will provide parents a list of foods that meet the district's snack standards and ideas for healthy celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities. In addition, the district/school will provide opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the school community. The school 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.
Staff Wellness. The School 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. The School should establish and maintain a staff wellness committee composed of at least one staff member, school health council member, dietitian or other health professional, recreation program representative, union representative, and employee benefits specialist. (The staff wellness committee could be a subcommittee of the school health council.) The committee should develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan to the school health council annually.
III. Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education
Daily Physical Education (P.E.) K-5. All students in grades K-5, including students with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive daily physical education (or its equivalent of 120 minutes/week for elementary school students. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (e.g., interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Daily Recess. The School’s students will have at least 25 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors, during which schools should encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment. Schools should discourage extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity. When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.
Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School. The School will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs or intramural programs. Schools will offer a range of activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students, including boys, girls, students with disabilities, and students with special health-care needs. After-school child care and enrichment programs will provide and encourage – verbally and through the provision of space, equipment, and activities – daily periods of moderate to vigorous physical activity for all participants. Physical Activity and Punishment. Teachers and other school and community personnel will not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.
IV. Monitoring and Policy Review
School food service staff will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas.