West Virginia Board of Education Takes a Strong Stance on Students Health

May 17, 2004

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education approved recommendations to improve student health during its monthly Board meeting.  

The recommendations include:  

1. Nutritious, low-fat and appealing foods and beverages, such as fruits and fruit juices, vegetables, dairy products, and whole-grain items, should be available wherever and whenever food is sold or otherwise offered at school.  

2. Policies should require any school that sells soft drinks to also sell and make equally accessible water and fruit beverages, and recommend that milk also be available.  

3. Times when foods are made available to students should be limited. Except for food and meals provided by school nutrition programs, state policies should be strengthened to prohibit the sale of all other foods and beverages from the beginning of the school day until after the last lunch period.  

5. Exclusive soft drink contracts that include incentives tied to sales quotas or consumption levels should be discouraged or prohibited. County school systems are responsible for contracts.  

6. County boards of education should establish policies or procedures to determine boundaries and restrictions to ensure that commercial advertising for foods and other items marketed to students is consistent with identified educational goals. Such policies should be evaluated for education effectiveness by the school or county on an ongoing basis.  

“Clearly, this is progress,” said State Board President Sandra Chapman. “As a Board, we are very concerned with health issues and we cannot ignore our responsibility in teaching our student good eating and exercise habits.”  

The six recommendations were based on a survey conducted by the Office of Child Nutrition. All 55 counties were posed with questions regarding contracts with vendors and the level of vending machine monitoring.  

Policy 4321: Standards for School Nutrition will be updated to reflect the recommendations. The Board of Education is expected to place the policy out on comment in the near future.