• Wellness Policy- Additional Guidelines


    The Barnstable Public School district is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children's health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. School districts are required by public health law 108.25, Section 204, to have a wellness policy, as childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in the United States. The rising overweight and obesity rates are noted by increases in BMI rates (2011), with Barnstable Public Schools at 35.9% and Massachusetts at 32.3%. Obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last 2 decades, and physical inactivity and excessive calorie intake are the predominant factors. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the US, and major risk factors for those diseases, include unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, and obesity, often established in childhood. Our goal is to create an environment that promotes healthy lifelong eating and exercise habits, and therefore the following guidelines have been established.


    Competitive foods/beverages, vending machines, and other foods provided in schools will follow the Massachusetts School Nutrition Regulations for foods and beverages sold individually (signed into law in 2010). Nutritional Standards for food items:

    • No more than 35% of calories from fat and no more than 10% of its calories from saturated fat. All foods shall be trans fat-free. Fat exemptions: 1 ounce servings of nuts, nut butters, seeds and reduced-fat cheese.
    • No more than 35% of total calories from sugar. Exceptions: 100% fruit with no added sugar and low-fat or non-fat yogurts with no more than 30 grams of total sugars, per 8 ounce serving.
    • All breads or grain-based products shall be whole grain or partial grains.
    • No food or beverage shall contain more than trace amounts of caffeine.
    • No food or beverage shall contain an artificial sweetener.
    • No food shall contain more than 200 mg of sodium per item. A la carte entrees shall not contain more than 480 mg of sodium per item.
    • Beverages: Water without added caloric or artificial sweeteners; fruit and vegetable juices and fruit based drinks that contain 100% juice and that do not contain additional sugar; unflavored or flavored low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk. Portion sizes: juice no greater than 4 oz and milk no greater than 8 oz. No beverage other than juice, milk, milk substitute and water shall be provided or sold.



    Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will follow the nutritional standards, and 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 district will make available a list of healthful snack items to teachers, after-school program personnel, and parents.



    If schools provide food or beverage rewards for academic performance or good behavior they shall meet the MA school nutrition regulations. Schools are encouraged to use other options besides foods for rewards. Food or beverages will not be held as a punishment.



    Schools should consider limiting 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. The district will make available a list of healthy party ideas to teachers. Elementary Schools can consider having one birthday party per month for all students born in a particular month, and will look at alternative offerings rather than food. Parents will be notified of guidelines.


    Fundraising activities

    To support children's health and school nutrition-education efforts, the use of foods that meet the nutrition standards will be encouraged to be used by schools groups engaged in fundraising activities. Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity. The school district will make available a list of ideas for acceptable fundraising activities. PTOs will be notified of guidelines.


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


    Communication with Parents/Guardians

    The schools will provide guideline information to parents through web sites, newsletters, or handouts. Schools should encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks. Ideas for healthy celebrations, rewards and fundraising activities can be provided by the school.


    Staff Wellness

    Each school will promote and support staff wellness. This can be done through school Wellness Taskforces, and will obtain staff input to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.


    Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

    Physical activity and education is provided at each grade level.


    Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School

    All schools are encouraged to offer extracurricular physical activity programs, including a range of activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students.


    Physical Activity and Punishment

    All schools are encouraged to promote "reflective walking" rather than withholding physical activity as punishment, as per the discretion of the Principal.


    Health Education

    Health Education is provided at each grade level that focuses on healthy choices.



    The superintendent 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 school district superintendent or designee.

    Each school is highly encouraged to have a Wellness Taskforce to address issues/communications in their building and improve compliance in their school.

    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 superintendent, or if done at the school level, to the principal.

    Each year the Barnstable Health Advisory Council will monitor policy compliance, provide updates, and resource information to schools as needed and requested.