The Benefits of a School Wellness Policy

March 11, 2021


What is a wellness policy?

A wellness policy creates a safe and healthy environment for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits. The school community (which includes parents, students, food service professionals, physical education teachers, school health professionals, community health partners, school nurses, the LEA board, and administrators) is encouraged to participate in the development and assessment of wellness policies.

Why should my school or district have a wellness policy?

Research shows that students who are physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially healthy during and after the school day have positive outcomes. For example, student participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) School Breakfast Program is associated with higher grades and test scores, lower absenteeism, and better performance on cognitive tasks. In addition, students who are physically active by participating in walking and biking to and from school, recess, physical activity breaks, high quality physical education, and extracurricular activities perform better academically.

What is in a wellness policy?

A comprehensive wellness policy will address students and staff physical, mental, and social health. This includes nutrition, physical activity (PE and recess), air quality, injury prevention, disease management, substance misuse prevention, and mental health.

How do I know if my school or district has a policy?

Most districts and some charter school already have wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity. This can usually be found on the district or charter website.

What if my school or district does not have one?

You can support your school in creating a wellness policy. The Utah State Board of Education has a model policy that schools and districts can use to create or improve their wellness policy. You can email jodi.parker@schools.utah.gov for more information.

 

Resources

Utah State Board of Education

Utah State Board of Education Model Policy

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Model Policy

USDA Wellness Policy Resources

CDC Wellness Policy Resources