District-adopted Local School Wellness Policies can improve student health if they are of high quality and have the support of district leadership. A comprehensive wellness policy supports a culture of wellness by addressing aspects of the broader school environment beyond minimum requirements for nutrition and physical activity.
Partners of the San Diego Childhood Obesity Initiative (COI) can
provide to help districts to strengthen their wellness policies,
including offering policy language examples from the COI Policy
The COI’s Policy Clearinghouse includes:
Effective implementation of a district’s wellness policy depends on a
commitment to communicate and engage the entire school community in
supporting healthy school environments.
Continued collaboration between districts and community partners has
resulted in overall improvements in wellness policy language and
implementation, leading to healthier school environments supporting
In 2015, Live Well Schools measured this improvement by completing a baseline analysis of wellness policies of districts in San Diego County using the WellSAT, a tool developed by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
Districts were able to use the WellSAT report as a tool to guide to strengthen their policies as they revised them to meet new requirements in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
In 2019, Live Well Schools analyzed the revised policies and provided data to districts showing changes in strength and comprehensiveness of the new policies.
As an example of the type of data provided to an individual district,
this chart shows improvements in WellSAT scores in the wellness policy
For the individual district, the comprehensiveness score changed from 8 points to 45 points (out of a possible 100 points) and the strength changed from 16 points to 76 points, a significant improvement in the district's wellness policy.
Live Well Schools’ 2019 Partnerships for Healthy Schools report cumulates the recent data and trends to start the discussion about how a strong wellness policy and effective budgeting investments in student physical and mental health and wellness can lead to better attendance.
To learn more about your district-specific data and trends please email Pam Smith for your school district's individual Healthy Schools report.
Click to view a sample Healthy Schools report and Live Well School's Healthy Schools infographic:
Many San Diego superintendents have stressed that systems for
monitoring policy adherence are a key component of a strong wellness
program. A strong and comprehensive policy sitting on a shelf will
have little impact on student health; it must be communicated and
implemented in each school.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requires districts to develop systems for measuring progress in meeting the goals of the wellness policy and perform a triennial assessment. HHSA staff and other partners that participate on district wellness committees can help support district staff to meet this requirement.
No-cost online tools to measure progress in meeting the goals of Local School Wellness Policies