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NO. 161.  AN ACT RELATING TO NUTRITION POLICY IN VERMONT SCHOOLS.

(H.272)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

It is the purpose of this act to encourage wellness programs in Vermont public schools and in Vermont communities.  Wellness programs will be designed to encourage life-long patterns of healthy eating and regular physical exercise among Vermont citizens.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 216 is added to read:

§ 216.  WELLNESS PROGRAM

(a)  In this section:

(1)  “Physical activity program” means a program which includes, in addition to regular physical education classes, minimum daily physical activity for each student provided through activities such as recess and other recreation periods, and participation in athletics either during or after regular school hours.  “Physical activity” means moderate and vigorous physical activities.   

(2)  “Physical education program” means a program which is a sequential, developmentally appropriate program that is an enjoyable experience for students and designed to help students develop the knowledge, skill, self-management skill, attitudes, and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physical fitness throughout their lives.

(3)  “Fitness program” means a program which includes a physical education program and a physical activity program.

(4)  “Nutrition” includes all food and beverages sold or served in the food service program, vending machines, snack bars, and school stores.

(5)  “Wellness program” means a program which includes fitness and nutrition.

(b)  The commissioner with the approval of the state board shall establish an advisory council on wellness which shall include at least three members associated with the health services field.  The members shall serve without compensation but shall receive their actual expenses incurred in the pursuit of their duties relating to wellness programs.  The council shall assist the department of education in planning, coordinating, and encouraging wellness programs in the public schools.

(c)  The commissioner shall collaborate with other agencies and councils working on childhood wellness to:

(1)  Supervise the preparation of appropriate nutrition and fitness curricula for use in the public schools, promote programs for the preparation of teachers to teach these curricula, and assist in the development of wellness programs.

(2)  Prepare and continually update a list of school and community programs which have the potential to improve childhood wellness.  The commissioner shall make the list available to all school districts and to any community groups that request it.

(3)  Establish and maintain a website which displays data from a youth risk behavior survey in a way that enables the public to aggregate and disaggregate the information.

(4)  Research funding opportunities for schools and communities that wish to build wellness programs and make the information available to the public.

     (5)  Create a process for schools to share with the department of health any data collected about the height and weight of students in kindergarten through grade six.  The commissioner of health may report any data compiled under this subdivision on a countywide basis.  Any reporting of data must protect the privacy of individual students and the identity of participating schools.

(d)  The department shall offer assistance to school districts and supervisory unions to provide teacher instruction in wellness programs.

(e)  Any school district board or supervisory union board may establish a wellness community advisory council to inventory community programs and assets and to assist the school board and community in developing and implementing wellness programs.  The school board shall provide public notice to the community to allow all interested parties to apply for appointment.  The school board shall endeavor to appoint members that represent various points of view and expertise within the community regarding wellness programs.  Members may include representatives from coordinated school health teams, teachers, school administrators, students, community members, health care providers, parents, and others.

Sec. 3.  COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION; SECRETARY OF HUMAN                            SERVICES; CHILDHOOD FITNESS AND NUTRITION MODEL             POLICIES; COMMUNITY GRANTS PROGRAM

(a)  The commissioner of education shall collaborate with the secretary of human services and the secretary of agriculture, foods and markets to write a model school fitness and nutrition policy.  The policy shall be available to school districts on or before January 1, 2005.  The model policy shall include:

(1)  A definition of nutritious foods, nutritional guidelines, and, to the extent financially feasible, policies regarding purchasing of locally grown foods for food and beverages sold or served in the food service program, vending machines, snack bars, and school stores.

(2)  A model physical education curriculum which is a sequential, developmentally appropriate program that is an enjoyable experience for students and designed to help students develop the knowledge, skill, self‑management skill, attitudes, and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physical fitness throughout their lives.  The model program shall include an annual report to parents which describes their child’s performance on fitness and other wellness indicators.

(3)  Model physical activity policies which include, in addition to regular physical education classes, minimum daily physical activity for each student provided through programs such as recess and other recreation periods, and participation in athletics either during or after regular school hours.  In this subsection, “physical activity” means moderate and vigorous physical activities.

(4)  A process for implementing and enforcing nutrition and physical fitness policies.

(5)  A process for reporting to the community on the health status of students.

(b)  The commissioner of education shall develop and implement a wellness grant program which awards funds to help school communities establish a wellness program pursuant to section 216 of Title 16.  The funds may be used to establish a wellness community advisory council, inventory community programs and assets, gather data about the health status of children in the community, adopt a fitness and nutrition policy based on the model policy developed under subsection (a) of this section, begin to implement and coordinate wellness programs in the community based on the adopted policy, and seek funding for further implementation of the policy from other sources such as the department of health.

(c)  On or before January 15, 2006, the commissioner of education shall report to the senate and house committees on education on the implementation of this act.

Sec. 4.  POSITION CREATED

One position - educational consultant II - is created in the department of education, safe and healthy schools division, for the purpose of implementing this act.

Approved:  June 10, 2004



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us