The Bridge Wellness Policies on Physical Activity
and Nutrition


Whereas, children need access to healthful foods and opportunities to be physically active in order
to grow, learn, and thrive;

Whereas, good health fosters student attendance and education;

Whereas, obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two
decades, and physical inactivity and excessive calorie intake are the predominant causes of obesity;

Whereas, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the
United States, and major risk factors for those diseases, including unhealthy eating habits, physical
inactivity, and obesity, often are established in childhood;

Whereas, 33% of high school students do not participate in sufficient vigorous physical activity and
72% of high school students do not attend daily physical education classes;

Whereas, only 2% of children (2 to 19 years) eat a healthy diet consistent with the five main
recommendations from the Food Guide Pyramid;

Whereas, nationally, the items most commonly sold from school vending machines, school stores,
and snack bars include low-nutrition foods and beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, imitation
fruit juices, chips, candy, cookies, and snack cakes;

Whereas, school districts around the country are facing significant fiscal and scheduling
constraints; and

Whereas, community participation is essential to the development and implementation of successful
school wellness policies;

Thus, The Bridge is committed to providing a school environment that promote and protect
children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.
Therefore, it is the policy of The Bridge that:
  • The school will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health
    professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing,
    monitoring, and reviewing facility-wide nutrition and physical activity policies.
  • All students in enrolled in the school will have opportunities, support, and encouragement
    to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages sold or served at school will meet the nutrition recommendations of
    the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide students with access to a variety of
    affordable, nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of
    students; will accommodate the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the student body
    in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe, and pleasant settings and adequate time for
    students to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, our school will participate in available federal school
    meal programs (including the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program
    [including after-school snacks], Summer Food Service Program, Fruit and Vegetable Snack
    Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program[including suppers]).
  • The school will provide nutrution education and physical education to foster lifelong habits
    of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education
    and school meal programs, and with related community services.


I. School Health Councils

The school will create a school health council to develop, implement, monitor, review, and, as
necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies.  The council also will serve as a
resource to the school for implementing those policies.  (A school health council consists of a group
of individuals representing the school and community, and should include parents, students,
representatives of the school food authority, members of the school board, school administrators,
teachers, health professionals, and members of the public.)

II. Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Sold and
Served on Campus

School Meals

Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:

  • be appealing and attractive to children;
  • be served in clean and pleasant settings;
  • meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes
    and regulations;
  • offer a variety of fruits and vegetables;1
  • serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milkand nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives
    (to be defined by USDA); and
  • ensure that half of the served grains are whole grain.3

The school should engage students and parents, through taste-tests of new entrees and surveys,
in selecting foods sold through the school meal programs in order to identify new, healthful, and
appealing food choices.  In addition, schools should share information about the nutritional content
of meals with parents and students.  Such information could be made available on menus, a website,
on cafeteria menu boards, placards, or other point-of-purchase materials.

Breakfast To ensure that all children have breakfast, either at home or at school, in order to meet
their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • The school will, to the extent possible, operate the School Breadfast Program.
  • School will, to the extent possible, arrange bus schedules and utilize methods to serve school
    breakfasts that encourage participation, including serving breakfast in the classroom,
    "grab-and-go" breakfast, or breakfast during morning break or recess.
  • Schools that serve breakfast to students will notify parents and students of the availability of
    the School Breakfast Program.
  • School will encourage parents to provide a healthy breakfast for their children through
    newsletter articles, take-home materials, or other means.

Free and Reduced-priced Meals School will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached
to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school
meals4.  Toward this end, schools may utilize electronic identification and payment systems; provide
meals at no charge to all children, regardless of income; promote the availability of school meals to
all students; and/or use nontraditional methods for serving school meals, such as “grab-and-go” or
classroom breakfast.

Summer Food Service Program Schools in which more than 50% of students are eligible for free or
reduced-price school meals will sponsor the Summer Food Service Program for at least six weeks
between the last day of the academic school year and the first day of the following school year, and
preferably throughout the entire summer vacation.

Meal Times and Scheduling. Schools:

  • will provide students with at least 10 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20
    minutes after sitting down for lunch; 
  • should schedule meal periods at appropriate times, e.g., lunch should be scheduled between
    11 a.m. and 1 p.m.;
  • should not schedule tutoring, club, or organizational meetings or activities during mealtimes,
    unless students may eat during such activities;
  • will schedule lunch periods to follow recess periods (in elementary schools);
  • will provide students access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or
    snacks; and
  • should take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with
    special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).

Qualifications of School Food Service Staff Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the
school meal programs. As part of the school’s responsibility to operate a food service program, we
will provide continuing professional development for all nutrition professionals in the school. Staff
development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for child
nutrition directors, school nutrition managers, and cafeteria workers, according to their levels of

Sharing of Foods and Beverages The school will discourage students from sharing their foods or
beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other
restrictions on some student’s diets.

Foods and Beverages Sold Individually (i.e., foods sold outside of reimbursable school
meals, such as through vending machines, cafeteria a la carte [snack] lines, fundraisers,
school stores, etc.)

Middle/Junior High and High Schools In middle/junior high and high schools, all foods and
beverages sold individually outside the reimbursable school meal programs (including those sold
through a la carte [snack] lines, vending machines, student stores, or fundraising activities) during
the school day, or through programs for students after the school day, will meet the following nutrition
and portion size standards:


  • Allowed: water or seltzer water6 without added caloric sweeteners; fruit and vegetable juices
    and fruit-based drinks that contain at least 50% fruit juice and that do not contain additional
    caloric sweeteners; unflavored or flavored low-fat or fat-free fluid milk and nutritionally-
    equivalent nondairy beverages (to be defined by USDA);
  • Not allowed: soft drinks containing caloric sweeteners; sports drinks; iced teas; fruit-based
    drinks that contain less than 50% real fruit juice or that contain additional caloric sweeteners;
    beverages containing caffeine, excluding low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk (which contain
    trivial amounts of caffeine).


  • A food item sold individually:
    1. will have no more than 35% of its calories from fat (excluding nuts, seeds, peanut
      butter, and other nut butters) and 10% of its calories from saturated and trans fat
    2. will have no more than 35% of its weight from added sugars;7
    3. will contain no more than 230 mg of sodium per serving for chips, cereals, crackers,
      French fries, baked goods, and other snack items; will contain no more than 480 mg
      of sodium per serving for pastas, meats, and soups; and will contain no more than
      600 mg of sodium for pizza, sandwiches, and main dishes.
  • A choice of at least two fruits and/or non-fried vegetables will be offered for sale at any
    location on the school site where foods are sold.  Such items could include, but are not limited
    to, fresh fruits and vegetables; 100% fruit or vegetable juice; fruit-based drinks that are at
    least 50% fruit juice and that do not contain additional caloric sweeteners; cooked, dried, or
    canned fruits (canned in fruit juice or light syrup); and cooked, dried, or canned vegetables
    (that meet the above fat and sodium guidelines).8

     Portion Sizes

  • Limit portion sizes of foods and beverages sold individually to those listed below:
    1. One and one-quarter ounces for chips, crackers, popcorn, cereal, trail mix, nuts,
      seeds, dried fruit, or jerky;
    2. One ounce for cookies;
    3. Two ounces for cereal bars, granola bars, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, bagels and
      other bakery items;
    4. Four fluid ounces for frozen desserts, including, but not limited to, low-fat or fat-free
      ice cream;
    5. Eight ounces for non-frozen yogurt; Twelve fluid ounces for beverages, excluding
      water; and
    6. The portion size of a la carte entrees and side dishes, including potatoes, will not be
      greater than the size of comparable portions offered as part of school meals. Fruits
      and non-fried vegetables are exempt from portion-size limits.

Fundraising Activities To support children’s health and school nutrition-education efforts, school
fundraising activities will not involve food or will use only foods that meet the above nutrition and
portion size standards for foods and beverages sold individually. Schools will encourage fundraising
activities that promote physical activity. The school district will make available a list of ideas for
acceptable fundraising activities.

Snacks Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will
make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and
vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. The school will assess if and
when to offer snacks based on timing of school meals, children’s nutritional needs, children’s ages,
and other considerations. The district will disseminate a list of healthful snack items to teachers,
after-school program personnel, and parents.

  • If eligible, schools that provide snacks through after-school programs will pursue receiving
    reimbursements through the National School Lunch Program.

Rewards The school will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition
standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above), as rewards for academic performance
or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school
meals) as a punishment.

Celebrations The school should limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to no more
than one party per class per month. Each party should include no more than one food or beverage
that does not meet nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold individually (above). The district
will disseminate a list of healthy party ideas to parents and teachers.

School-sponsored Events (such as, but not limited to, athletic events, dances, or performances) 
Foods and beverages offered or sold at school-sponsored events outside the school day will meet
the nutrition standards for meals or for foods and beverages sold individually (above).

III. Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and
Food Marketing

Nutrition Education and Promotion The Bridge School aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy
eating by students. The school should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • is offered at each grade level as part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program
    designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect
    their health;
  • is part of not only health education classes, but also classroom instruction in subjects such as
    math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subjects;
  • includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities,
    such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens;
  • promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy
    food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
  • emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical
  • links with school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related
    community services;
  • teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing; and
  • includes training for teachers and other staff.

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting For students to receive the nationally-
recommended amount of daily physical activity (i.e., at least 60 minutes per day) and for students
to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for
physical activity beyond physical education class. Toward that end:

  • classroom health education will complement physical education by reinforcing the
    knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle
    and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
  • opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons; and
  • classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes,
    as appropriate.

Communications with Parents The district/school will support parents’ efforts to provide a
healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. The district/school will offer healthy
eating seminars for parents, send home nutrition information, post nutrition tips on school
websites, and provide nutrient analyses of school menus. Schools should encourage parents
to pack healthy lunches and snacks and to refrain from including beverages and foods that
do not meet the above nutrition standards for individual foods and beverages. The district/school
will provide parents a list of foods that meet the district’s snack standards and ideas for healthy
celebrations/parties, rewards, and fundraising activities. In addition, the district/school will
provide opportunities for parents to share their healthy food practices with others in the
school community.

The district/school will provide information about physical education and other school-based
physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents’
efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school.
Such supports will include sharing information about physical activity and physical education
through a website, newsletter, or other take-home materials, special events, or physical
education homework.

Food Marketing in Schools School-based marketing will be consistent with nutrition
education and health promotion. As such, schools will limit food and beverage marketing
to the promotion of foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards for meals or for
foods and beverages sold individually (above).10 School-based marketing of brands
promoting predominantly low-nutrition foods and beverages11 is prohibited. The promotion
of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products
is encouraged.

Examples of marketing techniques include the following: logos and brand names on/in
vending machines, books or curricula, textbook covers, school supplies, scoreboards,
school structures, and sports equipment; educational incentive programs that provide
food as a reward; programs that provide schools with supplies when families buy low-
nutrition food products; in-school television, such as Channel One; free samples or coupons;
and food sales through fundraising activities. Marketing activities that promote healthful
behaviors (and are therefore allowable) include: vending machine covers promoting water;
pricing structures that promote healthy options in a la carte lines or vending machines;
sales of fruit for fundraisers; and coupons for discount gym memberships.

Staff Wellness The Bridge highly values the health and well-being of every staff member
and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff
to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Each district/school should establish and maintain a staff
wellness committee composed of at least one staff member, school health council member,
local hospital representative, dietitian or other health professional, recreation program
representative, union representative, and employee benefits specialist. (The staff wellness
committee could be a subcommittee of the school health council.) The committee should
develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness.
The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to
encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle
among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan to the school
health council annually.

IV. Physical Activity Opportunities and
Physical Education

Daily Physical Education (P.E.) K-12 All students in grades K-12, including students
with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will
receive daily physical education (or its equivalent of 150 minutes/week for elementary
school students and 225 minutes/week for middle and high school students) for the
entire school year. All physical education will be taught by a certified physical education
teacher. Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity

(e.g., interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical
education requirement. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education
class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Schools should discourage extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity.
When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students
to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools should give students periodic breaks
during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.

Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School All elementary, middle, and
high schools will offer extracurricular physical activity programs, such as physical activity
clubs or intramural programs. All high schools, and middle schools as appropriate, will
offer interscholastic sports programs. Schools will offer a range of activities that meet the
needs, interests, and abilities of all students, including boys, girls, students with disabilities,
and students with special health-care needs.

After-school child care and enrichment programs will provide and encourage – verbally
and through the provision of space, equipment, and activities – daily periods of moderate
to vigorous physical activity for all participants.

Physical Activity and Punishment Teachers and other school and community personnel
will not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for
physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.

Safe Routes to School The school district will assess and, if necessary and to the extent
possible, make needed improvements to make it safer and easier for students to walk
and bike to school. When appropriate, the district will work together with local public works,
public safety, and/or police departments in those efforts. The school district will explore
the availability of federal “safe routes to school” funds, administered by the state department
of transportation, to finance such improvements. The school district will encourage students
to use public transportation when available and appropriate for travel to school, and will
work with the local transit agency to provide transit passes for students.

Use of School Facilities Outside of School Hours School spaces and facilities should be
available to students, staff, and community members before, during, and after the school
day, on weekends, and during school vacations. These spaces and facilities also should be
available to community agencies and organizations offering physical activity and nutrition
programs. School policies concerning safety and confidentiality will apply at all times.

V. Monitoring and Policy Review

Monitoring The Bridge Program Director or designee will ensure compliance with established
district-wide nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. In each school, the principal or
designee will ensure compliance with those policies in his/her school and will report on the
school’s compliance to the The Bridge Program Director or his/her designee.

School food service staff, at the school or district level, will ensure compliance with nutrition
policies within school food service areas and will report on this matter to the Program Director
(or if done at the school level, to the school principal). In addition, the school will report on
the most recent USDA School Meals Initiative (SMI) review findings and any resulting changes.
If the district has not received a SMI review from the state agency within the past five years,
the district will request from the state agency that a SMI review be scheduled as soon as possible.

The The Bridge Program Director or designee will develop a summary report every three years on
facility-wide compliance with the district’s established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies,
based on input from staff/students within the school. That report will be provided to the The
BridgeBoard of Directors and also distributed to all school health councils, parent/teacher
organizations, school principals, and school health services personnel in the school.

Policy Review To help with the initial development of the school’s wellness policies, the school
will conduct a baseline assessment of the school’s existing nutrition and physical activity
environments and policies.12 The results of this school assessment will be compiled at the
Administration level to identify and prioritize needs.

The assessment will be repeated every three years to help review policy compliance, assess
progress, and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the school will
review our nutrition and physical activity policies; provision of an environment that supports healthy
eating and physical activity; and nutrition and physical education policies and program elements.
The school will, as necessary, revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their

Grievance Procedures

It is the Bridge’s policy that upon admission each child is informed of his right to file a grievance
without fear of retaliation.

The purpose of the policy aims to inform staff of the procedure to inform residents and their guardians
of the right to file grievances.


  1. During the admission process each resident and guardian is informed of the right to file a
    grievance. This right is specifically described during the admissions process and the resident
    and guardian sign the form. The only exception to guardian signature will be if the court
    orders no contact with the parents or guardian.
  2. The parent or guardian should receive a copy of the singed application informing them of the
    client's rights to file a grievance at admission.
  3. The Bridge shall have a specific grievance procedure, which describes the process for filing.
  4. The procedure should be posted in a public area for clients to review.
  5. The program Director shall ensure that each grievance filed is addressed under the client's
    rights policy.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Bridge fully supports and upholds the standards of the USDA Non-Discrimination Policy. The
policy is as follows:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees,
and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex,
gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or
parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any
public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or
activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs
and/or employment activities.)


To the extent possible, schools will offer at least two non-fried vegetable and two fruit options
each day and will offer five different fruits and five different vegetables over the course of a week.
Schools are encouraged to source fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers when practicable.

As recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.

A whole grain is one labeled as a “whole” grain product or with a whole grain listed as the primary
grain ingredient in the ingredient statement. Examples include “whole” wheat flour, cracked wheat,
brown rice, and oatmeal.

It is against the law to make others in the cafeteria aware of the eligibility status of children for free,
reduced-price, or "paid" meals.

5 School nutrition staff development programs are available through the USDA, School Nutrition
Association, and National Food Service Management Institute.

6 Surprisingly, seltzer water may not be sold during meal times in areas of the school where food
is sold or eaten because it is considered a “Food of Minimal Nutritional Value” (Appendix B of 7
CFR Part 210).

7 If a food manufacturer fails to provide the added sugars content of a food item, use the percentage
of weight from total sugars (in place of the percentage of weight from added sugars), and exempt
fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods from this total sugars limit.

8 Schools that have vending machines are encouraged to include refrigerated snack vending
machines, which can accommodate fruits, vegetables, yogurts, and other perishable items.

9 Unless this practice is allowed by a student’s individual education plan (IEP).

10 Advertising of low-nutrition foods and beverages is permitted in supplementary classroom and
library materials, such as newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and similar media, when such
materials are used in a class lesson or activity, or as a research tool.

11 Schools should not permit general brand marketing for food brands under which more than half
of the foods or beverages do not meet the nutrition standards for foods sold individually or the meals
are not consistent with school meal nutrition standards.

12 Useful self-assessment and planning tools include the School Health Index from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Changing the Scene from the Team Nutrition Program of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Opportunity to Learn Standards for Elementary, Middle,
and High School Physical Education from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

VI. Resources for Local School Wellness Policies on Nutrition
and Physical Activity


School Health Index, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, <>

School Health Councils:


General Resources on Nutrition

School Meals

Meal Times and Scheduling

  • Eating at School: A Summary of NFSMI Research on Time Required by Students to
    Eat Lunch, National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) [Attach PDF file]
  • Relationships of Meal and Recess Schedules to Plate Waste in Elementary Schools,
    National Food Service Management Institute,
    < >

Nutrition Standards for Foods and Beverages Sold Individually

Fruit and Vegetable Promotion in Schools

Fundraising Activities


  • Healthy School Snacks, (forthcoming), Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Materials to Assist After-school and Summer Programs and Homeless Shelters
    in Using the Child Nutrition Programs (website), Food Research and Action Center,



Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing:

Health Education

Nutrition Education and Promotion

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting

Food Marketing to Children

Eating Disorders

Staff Wellness

  • School Staff Wellness, National Association of State Boards of Education [link to pdf]
  • Healthy Workforce 2010: An Essential Health Promotion Sourcebook for Employers,
    Large and Small, Partnership for Prevention,
  • Well Workplace Workbook: A Guide to Developing Your Worksite Wellness Program,
    Wellness Councils of America, <>
  • Protecting Our Assets: Promoting and Preserving School Employee Wellness,
    (forthcoming), Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE)

Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education:

General Resources on Physical Activity

Physical Education


Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School

Safe Routes to School

Monitoring and Policy Review: