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School Wellness Policy

Local Wellness Policy Requirements - The Healthy, Hunger‐Free Kids Act of 2010 expands the scope of wellness policies; brings in additional stakeholders in its development, implementation and review; and requires public updates on the content and implementation of the wellness policies (Section 204). The intent is to strengthen local school wellness policies so they become useful tools in evaluating, establishing and maintaining healthy school environments, and to provide transparency to the public on key areas that affect the nutrition environment in each school.

School Wellness Conference - A conference was held on November 12, 2015 at Iowa State University that provides training and resources on the school wellness policy requirements. Resources and presentations from the conference are posted.

School Wellness Community Guide - An integrated school, parent, and community approach can enhance the health and well-being of Iowa students. Iowa Team Nutrition and Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids have partnered to develop this guide to identify specific strategies and action that schools can take to increase community engagement in school wellness activities.

School Wellness Resources

Involving Students

Students are often interested in making their schools healthier. Many of the changes implemented as a result of a school wellness policy directly impact students. Gaining their input and support ultimately will enable change to happen more quickly.

Physical Activity

Brain Breaks for the Classroom - Engage students’ brains, improve attention and concentration, and improve behavior by getting kids up and moving! Taking a quick brain break or physical activity break during class is easy and only takes a few minutes. Check out this one-page handout full to ideas to get started.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Webinar - overview of the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. This introduction will increase knowledge about next steps participants can take to become a physical activity leader to then establish a comprehensive school physical activity plan in their own school.

Get Movin’ - This Get Movin’ card set created by the Iowa Department of Public Health provides simple, short activities designed to be done in the classroom to help students achieve 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

Indoor Recess 101 - Each school has their own policy as to when students stay in from recess due to the weather. Kids need physical activity everyday no matter the weather conditions. When the weather is not cooperating to allow for outdoor recess what is a school to do? Schools should do their best to provide active indoor recesses. This can be challenging, but also can be a reality. There is a positive correlation between amount of time spent being physically active and academic performance. For more information, view the Wellness Impact Report.

Walking Works for Schools Tool-kit - Use this resources to organize a walking club or walk-to-school program at your school that will energize the entire community.


Non-food Fundraising and Rewards - The resources below are devoted to non-food, no-cost and low-cost fundraising, classroom rewards and classroom celebrations and are intended to support and complement the local school wellness policy to promote consistent messages about health and wellness throughout the school.

Pick a Better Snack - Resources to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables include: family newsletters, recipe cards, monthly lessons, bingo cards, scorecards, posters, physical activity posters, radio PSAs, newspaper ads/articles, fruit and vegetable fact sheets, and fruit and vegetable graphic files.

Smart Snacks in School, which established nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold to students on campus during the school day outside the meals served as part of the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs, is effective July 1, 2014. The Iowa State Board of Education amended the Iowa Healthy Kids Act rule on June 4, 2014, for the nutrition standards of other foods sold in school outside the meal programs, to be equivalent to the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards.

Water Access in Schools - Drinking water contributes to good health and schools are in a unique position to promote healthy behaviors, including drinking water throughout the school day. Access to safe, free drinking water throughout the school campus helps increase water consumption and maintains adequate hydration, which may improve cognitive function. Access to free water before, during and after school hours enables students to make a healthy choice an easy choice.

School Food and Beverage Marketing Assessment Tool - Utilize this tool to observe any advertising, marketing or promotion of foods or beverages. Information should be collected for any food or beverage, whether you consider it healthy or unhealthy. In addition to filling out this assessment form, you may want to take pictures of the food and beverage advertising and marketing you find or take samples with you if appropriate.

School Meals

Comfortable Cafeteria Webinar - Dayle Hayes, an award winning presenter from Montana partnered with the Iowa Team Nutrition program to hold a webinar about comfortable cafeterias that provide an atmosphere that encourages students to select healthy foods choices and offered tips on how to get students to eat them.

It's Not Just School Lunch - Resources for parents and school staff to promote and support school meals.

Empowered Parents for School Wellness Workshops - The 1 ½ hour workshop will empower parents to support school meals and lead change for school wellness. The school Food Service Director can “team up” to lead the workshop with a local Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), dietetic student, school nurse, health teacher, etc. Workshop materials include a leader guide, handouts, fact sheets, table tent awards, and myth and fact quiz. Contact the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at for RDN volunteers in your local area.

Additional Resources

Health and Academic Achievement - Schools, health agencies, parents, and communities share a common goal of supporting the link between healthy eating, physical activity, and improved academic achievement of children and adolescents. Evidence shows that the health of students is linked to their academic achievement, so by working together, we can ensure that young people are healthy and ready to learn. Knowing the evidence is important to help make the case for addressing healthy eating and physical activity in schools.

HealthierUS School Challenge - The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 to recognize those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.

Healthy Kids Act - The purpose of the Healthy Kids Act is to establish physical activity requirements for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and to establish nutritional content standards for food and beverages sold on or provided on school grounds during the school day. Compare the Iowa Healthy Kids Act with the Smart Snacks competitive foods regulations.

School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity - The health of students is linked to their academic success. Both physical activity and healthy eating play a powerful role in preventing obesity and chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer and stroke. The guidelines serve as a foundation for developing, implementing and evaluating school-based healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices for students.

The Wellness Impact Report: Enhancing Academic Success through Health School Environments - This report addresses why schools play such an important role in the health and wellness of students and it shows the importance of improved nutrition and activity in creating environments that enrich students’ readiness to learn.

Worksite Wellness

Making Worksite Wellness Work at Your School - Developed collaboratively between Iowans Fit for Life, Iowa Nutrition Network, and Iowa Team Nutrition and provides some easy suggestions to get an employee wellness program started.

Healthy Iowa Worksites Toolkit - Developed to assist Iowa employers - including school systems - in developing, implementing, and evaluating effective worksite wellness programs.

School Wellness Partners

Action for Healthy Kids - An organization that is charged with addressing the crisis of childhood overweight and obesity. Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids includes Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, American Heart Association, Iowa Sports Foundation, Midwest Dairy Council, local school districts, and additional non-profit organizations.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation - The Alliance works with schools, companies, communities, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids.

Fuel Up to Play60 - National Dairy Council school program that encourages the availability and consumption of nutrient rich foods, along with at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Iowa Healthiest State Initiative - A privately led public effort that will engage Iowans and their communities throughout the state. It will involve individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector in a broad-based community-focused effort.

Live Healthy Iowa Kids - A free, ten-week program for students to help them learn and apply healthy eating and physically active behaviors. The program runs from January through April. Resources and monetary incentives are available to participating schools.

Promoting Adolescent and School Health - The CDC provides evidence based guidance for schools on how to implement policies and practices that effectively promote healthy choices and behaviors among youth. This webpage contains resources about school meals including frequently asked questions, healthy eating tips for at home, school meal promotional templates, and classroom activities.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on November 30, 2015 at 6:21am.