State and Federal wellness policy
State and federal laws mandate that every school district in the Commonwealth institute a wellness policy to address what has been identified as a national childhood obesity epidemic. Penn-Delco rolled out a new wellness program in September 2006.
In order to comply with this mandate, Penn-Delco formed a well-rounded committee to determine an appropriate course of action. A community member, student, nurse, school board member, physical education teacher, and two parents, as well as our Assistant Superintendent, Athletic Director and Food Services Director were selected to create a program that would promote a healthier lifestyle while attending school. The program that was adopted complies with state and federal laws. Following state guidelines, the Wellness Committee selected less restrictive options, choosing to avoid the strictest recommendations provided in the new law.
One aspect of the policy stresses the need for a more balanced variety of meal and snack choices. Students are not required to totally give up snacks and treats traditionally associated with school activities. The law, however, requires all school districts to address the amount of treats that are to be made available to our children and limit the serving sizes. As a component of the law, the district is also required to address items such as fund raising, school parties, vending machines, and rewards.
The wellness policy does not only address the issue of what types of food are being served within the district. Nutrition is just one of several components involved in the program. Due to the policy implementation, the elementary physical education curriculum was revised to include a yearly health/nutrition component. Schools are also asked to promote healthier living. We will encourage participation in athletic activities such as walking and sports clubs.
The following are highlights of the state and federal mandated wellness policy:
- A la Carte Foods – A minimum of one fresh fruit and vegetable will be offered daily. Foods of minimal nutritional value* will not be available anytime during the school day. A minimum of 75% of snack foods offered in elementary schools and 60% of snack foods offered in secondary schools will meet the criteria for nutritional foods.
- A la Carte Beverages – A minimum of 75% of beverages offered in elementary schools and 60% of beverages offered in secondary schools will meet the criteria for nutritional foods*.
- Fundraisers – All food items offered during the school day will follow the standards for nutritional foods*. Items sold after the school day are not subject to the policy.
- Classroom/Holiday Parties – There will be a limit of two classroom/holiday parties per school year. Classroom parties may offer one item with minimal nutritional value, i.e. cupcakes, cookies, cake, etc. Up to three other items, including beverages must be chosen from the list below. Birthday treats must be chosen from the list below. All birthday celebrations will occur in the cafeteria. Siblings of students are not permitted at classroom parties.
Rewards – Food will not be used as a reward unless it is for an activity that promotes a positive nutrition message.
*Criteria for nutritional foods and beverages are available in the main office of your school or on the Penn-Delco website.