Students need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive.
Obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two decades, and physical inactivity and excessive calorie intake are the predominant causes of obesity.
Major risk factors of many diseases (heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes) are poor eating habits, low amounts of physical activity and obesity. Since many times these health patterns are establish during childhood, children must be educated about good health choices.
On June 30, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into public law 108-265, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, requiring each local educational agency participating in a school lunch program, to establish a local school wellness policy.
The Purpose of a Wellness Program
The purpose of a wellness program is to establish a work/school environment that promotes healthy lifestyles, decreases the risk of disease, and enhances the quality of life. Healthier employees can help an organization lower health care costs, prevent serious illnesses, and improve productivity. Healthier students are able to participate, concentrate, focus, and understand which enables them to ask questions, problem solve, and think critically leading to deeper learning and retention of more information. A wellness program encourages people to take measures to prevent the onset of degeneration of a disease or illness and to adopt lifestyles that are healthier. Wellness programs are an investment in an organization's most valuable resource, its people.
The Purpose of a Wellness Committee
The purpose of a wellness committee is to establish goals for and oversee the health and safety policies and programs, including development, implementation, and periodic review and revision of the district-level wellness policy and the status of the attainment of the goals. In addition to district faculty and staff, the committee will represent all levels of school and include, to the extent possible, parents and guardians, students, food service representatives, and members of the communityat-large.