P.O. BOX 2120



May 20, 2005



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Local Wellness Policy Requirement


Recognizing the important role schools can play in combating problems associated with poor nutrition and inactivity in children, Congress has adopted a new provision that requires school divisions participating in any of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) school nutrition programs to establish a local wellness policy by the first day of school year 2006-2007. This new requirement is included in the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Reauthorization Act). These local wellness policies must address nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities to promote student wellness. School divisions are encouraged to use the school health advisory boards (SHAB), in conjunction with nutrition advisory councils and other advisory groups, as the infrastructure to address these student wellness issues.


Policy Requirements

The statutory language of Section 204 of the Reauthorization Act (Public Law 108-265) is presented as Attachment A of this memo. The local wellness policy for each school division must, at a minimum:


1.  include goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities to promote student wellness;

2.  include nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available during the school day, with the objective of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity;

3.  provide assurance that local guidelines established shall not be less restrictive than USDA regulations and guidance, or existing Virginia regulations and guidance, as they apply to the school nutrition programs;

4.  establish a plan for measuring implementation of the local policy; and,

5.  involve parents, students, school nutrition program directors and/or managers, the school board, school administrators, and the public in development of the policy.


Technical Assistance

To assist school divisions in developing their local wellness policies, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U. S. Department of Education (USED), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have coordinated their efforts to provide information and technical assistance on USDAs Team Nutrition website at:


Information available on the Team Nutrition website includes the following:


In Virginia, a joint committee of the Board of Education (BOE) and Board of Health (BOH) developed recommendations for nutrition and physical activity in schools. These recommendations have been incorporated into the scorecard for the Governors Nutrition and Physical Activity Awards Program (Scorecard). The Scorecard standards are an excellent tool for school divisions to use in establishing nutrition education goals, physical activity goals, and nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available to students during the school day. The Scorecard standards can be found at the following website:


Previously, all school principals and division coordinators of school nutrition and health and physical education were sent information about the Scorecard and logins and passwords for each school in the division. Schools and school divisions that are already working to meet the standards of the Scorecard may be well on the way toward meeting the local wellness policy requirements.


Reporting and Deadlines

School divisions will be asked to report on the status of the local wellness policy as part of the required School Health Advisory Board Annual Report, beginning with the school year 2005-2006 report. The due date of the report will be July 1, 2006. Additional information will be provided in a future superintendents memo.


Questions regarding the local wellness policy and/or the school nutrition programs may be directed to Lynne Fellin, acting director, or the school nutrition program specialist assigned to the division at (804) 225-2074. Questions related to physical activity may be directed to Vanessa Wigand, health education, physical education, and driver education specialist, at (804) 225-3300. Questions regarding the school health advisory boards may be directed to Muriel Azria-Evans, PhD, comprehensive school health specialist, at (804) 225-4543.