NEW Schools Act Could Strengthen School Wellness Initiatives

May 05, 2010

By Laura Fillenwarth

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In mid-April, the Nutrition Education and Wellness (NEW) Schools Act was introduced in Congress; Representative Jared Polis from Colorado introduced the bill to the House of Representatives.

By placing emphasis on school wellness policies, the NEW Schools Act
could have an impact on childhood obesity by providing transparency,
oversight, and assistance in the development and implementation of
wellness policies. This can strengthen nutrition promotion and education
as well as physical activity in schools.

Nutrition education, physical activity and health literacy are essential to protecting children's health and addressing health care costs. The NEW Schools Act would increase these programs by providing $70 million per year for the USDA to administer a comprehensive and coordinated wellness and nutrition education initiative. This initiative would strengthen local school wellness policies by supporting policy development, implementation, and evaluation. It would provide grants to states for education, promotion and training; help schools improve the nutritional quality of school foods; and provide grants to school districts to strengthen and support local nutrition education programs. 

We know that healthy students are better prepared to learn, and that wellness policies are an important part of creating school environments that truly support health. Thank you to Congressman Polis for bringing attention to this issue.

To learn more about the NEW Schools Act, check out the fact sheet [pdf] on the bill.