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CAS Wellness (CAS) Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition

Preamble
Whereas, children need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive;

Whereas, good health fosters student attendance and education;

Whereas, 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;

Whereas, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the United States, and major risk factors for those diseases, including unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, and obesity, often are established in childhood;

Whereas, 33% of high school students do not participate in sufficient vigorous physical activity and 72% of high school students do not attend daily physical education classes;

Whereas, only 2% of children (2 to 19 years) eat a healthy diet consistent with the five main recommendations from the Food Guide Pyramid;

Whereas, nationally, the items most commonly sold from school vending machines, school stores, and snack bars include low-nutrition foods and beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, imitation fruit juices, chips, candy, cookies, and snack cakes;

Whereas, school districts around the country are facing significant fiscal and scheduling constraints; and Whereas, community participation is essential to the development and implementation of successful school wellness policies;

Thus, the CAS District is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children's health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of the CAS District that:

  • The school district will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing district nutrition and physical activity policies.
  • All students in grades K-12 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at school should meet the nutrition recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, Chester will participate in available federal school meal programs such as the School Breakfast Program, and the National School Lunch Program.
  • CAS will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.


TO ACHIEVE THESE POLICY GOALS

I. School Health Councils
The CAS District will strengthen the existing school health councils to develop, implement, monitor, review, and, as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies. The councils also will serve as resources to school sites for implementing those policies. (A school health council consists of a group of individuals representing the school and community, and should include parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, members of the school board, school administrators, teachers, health professionals, and members of the public.)


II. Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Sold and Served on Campus

School Meals
Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs should:

  • be appealing and attractive to children;
  • be served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations;
  • offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;2
  • serve only low-fat (1%, 2%) and fat-free milk3 and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA); and
  • when possible ensure that a portion of the served grains are whole grain.

Breakfast. To ensure that all children have the opportunity to eat breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • CAS will, to the extent possible, operate the School Breakfast Program.
  • CAS will notify parents and students of the availability of the School Breakfast Program.
  • CAS will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.

Free and Reduced-priced Meals. CAS will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals5. Toward this end, CAS may utilize electronic identification and payment systems; promote the availability of school meals to all students; and/or use nontraditional methods for serving school meals.

Meal Times and Scheduling, CAS:

  • will provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch;
  • should schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. if possible.
  • should not schedule tutoring, club, or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes, unless students may eat during such activities;
  • will try to schedule lunch periods to follow recess periods (in the elementary) if possible;
  • will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks; and
  • should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).

Qualifications of School Food Service Staff. Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the school meal programs. As part of the school district's responsibility to operate a food service program, we will provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals in schools. Staff development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child nutrition directors, school nutrition managers, and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of responsibility.6

Sharing of Foods and Beverages. CAS will discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times.


III. Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing

Nutrition Education and Promotion. CAS District aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students. CAS should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • is offered as a part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
  • is part of not only health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, field trips, and school gardens;
  • promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
  • emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
  • links with school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services;
  • includes training for teachers and other staff.

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting. For students to receive the nationally-recommended amount of daily physical activity (i.e., at least 60 minutes per day) and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class. Toward that end:

  • classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
  • opportunities for physical activity will try to be incorporated into other subject lessons;

Communications with Parents. The school will support parents' efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The school will send home nutrition information and post nutrition tips on school websites. CAS should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that do not meet the above nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages.

The school will provide information about physical education and other school-based physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents' efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school.

Food Marketing in Schools. School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition education and health promotion. As such, schools will attempt to limit food and beverage marketing to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (above). School-based marketing of brands promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages should be discouraged. The promotion of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products is encouraged.

Marketing activities that promote healthful behaviors (and are therefore allowable) include: vending machine covers promoting water; pricing structures that promote healthy options in a la carte lines or vending machines; and sales of fruit for fundraisers.

Staff Wellness. CAS District highly values the health and well-being of every staff member and will try to plan/implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The district should establish and maintain a staff wellness committee composed of at least one administrator, one staff member, school health council member, dietitian or other health professional, physical education teacher, and student. (The staff wellness committee could be a subcommittee of the school health council.) The committee should develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan annually.

IV. Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

Daily Physical Education (P.E.) K-12. All physical education will be taught by a certified teacher. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (e.g., interscholastic sports) should not be substituted for meeting the physical education requirement. Students should spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Elementary PE promote getting students actively working on the Presidential Fitness program

Daily Recess. All elementary school students will have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors, during which teachers should encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment. CAS should discourage extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity. When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, teachers should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.

Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School. When possible, the elementary, middle, and high schools will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity clubs, or open gyms. High school and middle school will offer interscholastic sports programs. CAS will offer a range of activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students, including boys, girls, students with disabilities, and students with special health-care needs.

Physical Activity and Punishment. Teachers and other school and community personnel will be encouraged to not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.

Safe Routes to School. When appropriate, the district will work with local public works, public safety, and/or police departments to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school.

Use of School Facilities Outside of School Hours. School spaces and facilities should be available to students, staff, and community members before, during, and after the school day, on weekends, and during school vacations. These spaces and facilities also should be available to community agencies and organizations offering physical activity and nutrition programs. School policies concerning safety will apply at all times.

V. Monitoring and Policy Review

Monitoring. The designee will ensure compliance with established district-wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. The principal or designee will ensure compliance with those policies in his/her school and will report on the school's compliance to the school district superintendent.

School food service staff, will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the food service designee. In addition, the school district will report on the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes. If the district has not received a SMI review from the state agency within the past five years, the district will request from the state agency that a SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible.

Policy Review.

Review should be repeated yearly to help insure policy compliance, assess progress, and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the school district will revise and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation whenever necessary.


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