Little Association Between Wellness Policies and School-Reported Nutrition Practices.
Sommaire de l'article
Background. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 mandated written school wellness policies. Little evidence exists to evaluate the impact of such policies. This study assessed the quality (comprehensiveness of topics addressed and strength of wording) of wellness policies and the agreement between written district-level policies and school-reported nutrition policies and practices in 48 low-income Michigan school districts participating in the School Nutrition Advances Kids study. Method. Written wellness policy quality was assessed using the School Wellness Policy Evaluation Tool. School nutrition policies and practices were assessed using the School Environment and Policy Survey. Analysis of variance determined differences in policy quality, and Fisher's exact test examined agreement between written policies and school-reported practices. Results. Written wellness policies contained ambiguous language and addressed few practices, indicating low comprehensiveness and strength. Most districts adopted model wellness policy templates without modification, and the template used was the primary determinant of policy quality. Written wellness policies often did not reflect school-reported nutrition policies and practices. Conclusions. School health advocates should avoid assumptions that written wellness policies accurately reflect school practices. Encouraging policy template customization and stronger, more specific language may enhance wellness policy quality, ensure consistency between policy and practice, and enhance implementation of school nutrition initiatives.