• ............................ Important Alert: As of 7 a.m. today, the following Oahu schools will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 7: Farrington High, Pearl City Highlands Elementary & Red Hill Elementary. On Maui, Kula Elementary is closed.

Wellness Guidelines

Wellness in Hawaii’s public schools includes a wellness committee, nutrition guidelines, health education, nutrition promotion, physical education, physical activity and professional development for staff.


The Wellness Guidelines implement Board of Education Policy 103-1 and fulfill the requirements of Public Law 108-265 Section 204 and the Healthy Hunger Free-Kids Act (2010)

Wellness Committee

Every school has a designated wellness coordinator and a committee that meet at least three times per year to address school health issues, including the implementation of the Wellness Guidelines. The Wellness Committee should consist of school administration, faculty and staff, as well as students, families and community representatives. The Wellness Committee is responsible for completing the School Health Index and using other data sources (e.g. Youth Risk Behavior Survey) in order to identify priority areas for the school’s Academic Plan.

At the beginning of each school year, the school community is notified about the wellness policy and provided with the wellness coordinator’s contact information. The school also encourages student’s families to support wellness at school and at home.

​​​​​Health Education and Nutrition Promotion

Health education and nutrition promotion provide the instructional foundation that is necessary to prepare students to make lifelong healthy decisions and practice healthy behaviors. This component area of the Wellness Guidelines includes school-wide promotion of nutritious meals and snacks as well as quality health education.

Guidelines for health education and nutrition promotion are organized around four key components:

  1. Instructional content of health education classes includes a focus on knowledge and skills that support healthy eating and is aligned with the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) standards for health education.

  2. Health education is provided to students in elementary grades at least 45 minutes per week and secondary grades at least 200 minutes per week.

  3. Nutrition education includes culturally relevant activities that are ‘aina-based and hands-on, such as food preparation, taste-testing, farm visits and school gardens.

  4. All school-based marketing of foods and beverages must meet the Nutrition Guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, school publications, the exterior of vending machines, posters, banners, in-school televisions and scoreboards.

Click for more information about Health Education.

Click for more information about the Nutrition Guidelines.

Physical Education

The goal of physical education (PE) is to support all students in achieving the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. Participation in PE also helps students reach the national recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

Quality physical education is needed to increase students’ overall fitness, teach lifelong skills, and encourage enjoyment of physical activity. Numerous studies have documented a positive association between physical activity and academic achievement through increased concentration, reduced disruptive behavior, better grades and higher test scores.

There are six guidelines to support physical education:

  1. Instructional content of physical education classes is aligned with HIDOE standards for physical education.
  2. Physical education is provided to students in elementary grades for at least 45 minutes per week and secondary grades for at least 200 minutes per week.
  3. At least 50 percent of physical education class time is dedicated to moderate to vigorous physical activity. 
  4. Physical education classes are taught by state-certified physical education instructors.
  5. Physical education classes have a student/teacher ratio similar to other classes.
  6. Physical education in grades 5, 7 and 9 includes a health-related student fitness assessment.  

Click for more information about the Department's Physical Education.

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity builds healthy bones and muscles, improves muscular strength and endurance, reduces the risk for developing chronic disease, improves self-esteem, and reduces stress and anxiety. Research also shows that physical activity can help improve student academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.

There are six guidelines to support physical activity:

  1. Students are provided at least 20 minutes a day of recess that include opportunities to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
  2. Students are provided with physical activity breaks at least every 60 minutes
  3. The school does not use or withhold physical activity (e.g. recess or PE) as a negative consequence.
  4. The school supports active transport by encouraging students and staff to walk and/or bike to school if reasonably safe to do so.
  5. The school supplies bike racks for students and staff.
  6. The school staff, students, families and community members have access to school grounds and facilities to be physically active during non-instructional time (e.g. before and after school, on weekends and holidays).

Professional Development

In order to create a school community that is supportive of wellness, school staff are provided with opportunities for professional development relating to wellness.

There are two guidelines to support professional development:

  1. The school staff receive annual professional development on the wellness guidelines.
  2. The school staff are encouraged to be role models for wellness.

Safety and Wellness Survey

This annual online survey of public school principals is used to monitor and evaluate schools’ progress toward implementing the Wellness Guidelines. It is jointly administered by the Departments of Education and Health. Key indicators from the SAWS are included in the Superintendent's Annual report. Click to view the latest Safety and Wellness Survey​​ results (or see Related Downloads, right.)

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement  

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 
  2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or 
  3. email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Policies and resources to support children
To support and develop the academic achievement, character building and social-emotional well-being of all children, the Board of Education develops policies and the Department cultivates and curates aligned resources for students, employees and the public school system.

Contact Information

School Food Services Branch

Phone: 808-784-5500 or toll-free at 800-441-4845


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