A new SNA (School Nutrition Association) report indicates that most school districts have completed implementation of their nutrition standards for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and a la carte offerings. The report, From Cupcakes to Carrots: Local Wellness Policies One Year Later, is compiled from a survey of 976 school nutrition directors conducted this past May. It shows that 97% of school districts have addressed nutrition standards for NSLP meals in their wellness policies, and more than 92% say that they have completed implementation of those standards. Meanwhile, 96% of districts have set standards for a la carte foods and beverages sold through school nutrition programs, and 72% of these report that they have completed implementation of the standards. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required that all school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program approve a local wellness policy by the start of the 2006-2007 school year. The law mandated that these policies include goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities as well as nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available in schools. The survey results also indicate that implementation of nutrition standards has been more of a challenge for policies that address foods and beverages offered outside of the school nutrition program, including food available through school stores and fundraisers, food rewards given by teachers and food served at classroom party celebrations. Less than half of all districts that included these policy components have finished implementing them. Finding affordable products that meet policy nutrition standards, acceptance by students and monitoring/oversight of the policy were the biggest implementation challenges cited.
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