Action for Healthy Kids’ Wellness Policy Tool

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Wellness Policy Tool: Seven Steps to Success

School districts across the country recognize that healthy eating behaviors and regular physical activity are essential for students to achieve their full academic and life potential, and that they have a responsibility to provide a healthy learning environment by supporting wellness, good nutrition, and regular physical activity. Wellness policies promote life-long wellness behaviors, and link healthy nutrition and exercise to students’ overall physical well-being.

Action for Healthy Kids developed the Wellness Policy Tool: Seven Steps to Success, with input from our partner organizations and volunteer Team members, to assist wellness policy work. This tool has been designed to help you create a local wellness policy that meets your district’s unique goals for nutrition and physical activity and take the next steps to put the policy into action to positively impact students’ health and lifelong choices.

Using the Action for Healthy Kids Wellness Policy Tool

School Board policies are statements that set forth the expectations of the school district and prescribe in general terms the organization and programs of a school system. Policies grant authority to pursue these expectations. Together, district policies create a framework to provide direction, process and guidance for administration, staff and students. Policies serve as sources of information for parents, community members and others who are interested in or connected with the schools.

Policies may also include Procedures that provide more detail on the implementation of the policy. Procedures typically define clearly the goals and objectives of the school district, allow for the flexibility that is vital in day-to-day operations, reflect the board’s vision, define roles and responsibilities), and include measurable outcomes.

The AFHK Wellness Policy Tool is intended to help anyone involved in developing, revising, implementing, and evaluating wellness policies by providing practical guidance and how-to information about the wellness policy process. The process of developing, revising and implementing a wellness policy is cyclical and on-going. Putting the policy on paper is not enough to improve student nutrition and physical activity.  By following the cycle of policy development shown in the AFHK tool, school districts can improve student nutrition and physical activity and promote a healthy school environment in the long term.

To use this tool, start with Step 1 or go directly to the step that is relevant to your progress. You will be able to move through the steps of the AFHK Wellness Policy Tool based on your district’s needs. At each step, you will find objectives, resources, and frequently asked questions to guide your journey through the wellness policy process.

The Action for Healthy Kids Wellness Policy Tool uses a continuous process, consisting of seven steps. The steps are related to each other, and by working through each step, it is possible to effectively establish district local wellness policies and other policies. Clicking on each step will open a new page with specific information and guidance. It is the intent of this tool that the team established in Step 1 works together through each step of the process in their work as a district wellness committee. Specific questions will guide the process and related resources are listed with each step.  Helpful online resources are listed at the end of each step.

Resources to get you started:

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