Submit Model Comment

soccer girlsHelp Ensure PE and PA are Key Pieces to Future Local School Wellness Policies

The US Department of Agriculture recently released proposed updates to local school wellness policies. As part of the improvements, schools will promote more physical activity and nutrition education as well as strengthen implementation of the policies, ensure better accountability and transparency, and provide schools with more tools and resources. 

USDA is accepting comments on the proposed updates until Monday, April 28th.  You can help ensure that physical education and physical activity are included once the official guidance from USDA is released by adding your voice and submitting the below model comment. 

Click here to submit a comment.  Select 'Comment Now!' on the right-hand side of the screen.  Copy and paste the model comment below and submit! We hope to generate a significant number of comments in support of stronger physical education and physical activity requirements. Thanks for lending your voice to this important initiative!  

 
MODEL COMMENT

I appreciate USDA's work to improve nutrition and physical activity in schools, and I strongly support the "Local School Wellness Policy Implementation" proposed rule and encourage the addition of physical education to the current list of goal areas. 

As you know, over the last three decades, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. Although we have seen some recent improvements in these obesity rates, especially in young children, few children meet recommendations for daily physical activity. Because children spend many hours at school, it is critical that schools adopt policies that support physical education and physical activity. Physical education increases physical competence, physical activity participation, health-related fitness, social responsibility and enjoyment of physical activity. Unfortunately, many schools today do not provide adequate physical education or health education, as recommended by leading health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

I strongly support the following in the rule: 

  • Local school wellness policies should address specific goals for physical activity with the addition of required physical education.
  • Appoint one district-level school official to serve as the designated point of contact for the wellness policy and who has authority and responsibility to ensure that each school complies with the policy.
  • Assemble a diverse team of stakeholders, including parents, school officials, students, community members, etc., to develop and implement the local wellness policy.
  • Each school district will make the local wellness policy, and information on implementation of the policy at each school, publicly available.
  • Provide regular assessments of the local wellness policy, as well as annual reports to demonstrate schools' progress toward meeting wellness policy goals, are essential for ensuring that each school complies with the policy.
  • Create wellness policy goals that are measurable over the short and long term, and indicate who will make what change, by how much, where, and by when.

In the final rule, I encourage USDA to include physical education in the list of required goal topics and specific definitions of local school wellness policy, physical activity and physical education, and nutrition promotion and education. 

I also urge USDA to provide a one-year timeline for implementation, so that schools have adequate time to prepare but children benefit as soon as possible. USDA also should provide strong model policies, clear guidance, and ample technical assistance.  

Thank you for proposing these much-needed updates to strengthen nutrition and physical activity in schools. I urge you to quickly finalize the rule, and work with schools to ensure full implementation.