On June 30, 2004, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, also known as Public Law 108-265, was signed into law by President Bush. Much of this lengthy federal statute is technical in nature, largely concerning the continued implementation of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. For school board members, there was little remarkable about the Act apart from Section 204 that calls for direct action by local school boards. In the words of the law:
Not later than the first day of the school year beginning after June 30, 2004, each local education agency participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act . . . or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 . . . shall establish a local school wellness policy . . .
Requirements of Federal Law
Reducing childhood obesity through improved nutrition and increased physical activity is the law’s principle goal. Section 204 of the Reauthorization Act separated the requirement for a wellness policy into five parts:
First, a variety of individuals – parent, students, Child Nutrition service representatives, board members, administrators, and members of the public – must be involved in the development of the policy.
Second, policies must establish goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that are designed to promote wellness.
Third, nutrition guidelines must be in place with the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity.
Fourth, the policy must provide an assurance that guidelines for reimbursable meals will comply with USDA guidance.
Fifth, there must be a provision that allows for measuring implementation of the policy, along with identifying an administrator responsible for ensuring compliance with policy.