State Wellness Policy Requirement Laws Matter for District Wellness Policy Comprehensiveness and Wellness Policy Implementation in the United States

Jamie F. Chriqui, Julien Leider, Lindsey Turner, Elizabeth Piekarz-Porter, Marlene B. Schwartz
2021 Nutrients  
Beginning with the school year 2006–2007, U.S. school districts participating in the federal Child Nutrition Programs were required to adopt and implement a local wellness policy (LWP) that included goals and/or standards for nutrition education, school meals, other foods sold or served in schools, and physical activity. A primary challenge with LWPs has been inconsistent implementation. This study examined whether state wellness policy requirement laws and district LWP comprehensiveness
more » ... ehensiveness influence district level implementation, using law/policy data from the National Wellness Policy Study and school food authority (SFA)-reported district LWP implementation from the School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study. Generalized linear and structural equation models were used, controlling for SFA and district characteristics. SFAs in states with wellness policy requirement laws (vs. those in states without) reported implementing significantly more practices (59.56% vs. 44.57%, p < 0.01). State wellness policy requirement laws were associated with district LWP comprehensiveness (coeff.: 0.463; 95% CI: 0.123, 0.803) and district-level implementation (coeff.: 1.392; 95% CI: 0.299, 2.485). District LWP comprehensiveness was associated with district implementation (coeff.: 0.562; 95% CI: 0.072, 1.053), but did not mediate the state law–district implementation relationship. This study highlights the important role that state laws and district LWPs can play in facilitating wellness policy implementation.
doi:10.3390/nu13010188 pmid:33435387 fatcat:jogpnp2qirbzxeaehqrnytryvy