An overview of school wellness policies and resources

November 28, 2017

school wellness girl veggiesby Leigh Adcock
Communications Specialist

Given the growing interest in nutrition and wellness for school-aged children, our program assistant Kaley Hohenshell recently researched and wrote a comprehensive guide to school wellness policies, with an emphasis on farm to school programming.

You can see the overview and resources she has developed here.

According to the USDA, wellness policies are used by schools to promote student and staff wellness, prevent and combat childhood obesity, and to make sure school nutrition guidelines are meeting the minimum federally placed school meal standards.

A strong school wellness policy includes nutrition and wellness goals, covering the school meal menu and fitness activities. Parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, teachers of physical education, school health professionals, the school board, school administrators and the general public should be included in the development, implementation and update of local school wellness policy.

A school wellness policy is now required for any school participating in federal nutrition programs.

Our program coordinator Lynn Heuss researched wellness policies as part of her master’s thesis for ISU. According to herresearch survey, 41 percent of Iowa elementary principals surveyed about farm to school and school wellness policies noted an increase in parental involvement at their schools.

You can reach Kaley at, and Lynn at

Related Local Foods Program publication:

Cafeteria Coaching Toolkit