First Lady Keeps Unhealthy Marketing Out of Schools

Feb 25, 2014 by

First Lady Keeps Unhealthy Marketing Out of Schools

Nearly a year and a half ago, the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition successfully advocated to keep unhealthy marketing out of Seattle Public Schools (see our story and Q13 Fox coverage). Today, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking steps to ensure that all U.S. schools are free from advertising of the sugary drinks and junk foods that schools are working so hard to eliminate from their lunch lines and vending machines.

The joint announcement came today from the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are proposing new rules to keep classrooms and athletic fields free from unhealthy marketing that would run counter to recent regulations from the USDA which aim to improve the nutritional value and health school lunches and curb unhealthy foods sold in school vending machines and school stores.

“The idea here is simple — our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” the first lady said. “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.” – See more at: http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/opinion/new-rules-would-phase-out-marketing-of-unhealthy-foods-in-schools-to-combat-child-obesity-1.866144#sthash.odOshZUG.dpuf

The vast majority of unhealthy advertising in schools aims to sell sugary drinks, such as soda and energy drinks; however, the American Beverage Association expressed its support for the new rules.

What would this mean for the Coca-Cola and Pepsi logos that cover vending machines, paper cups, school athletic field score boards and entrance signs? Instead of advertising unhealthy products, the companies would likely have to tout their healthy items – such as Dasani. The rules will be open for comments, and leave states and schools room to interpret special situations like bake sales and pre-existing score boards with company logos embedded in the design.

Finally, the announcement also included a call for community and parent involvement in forming local wellness policies – valuable tools for shaping school health goals around foods and physical activity. The new rules also enable high poverty schools to serve breakfast and lunch to students in need for free.

For more information on marketing in schools and on the new proposed rules, visit the Center for Science and the Public Interest website.

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