Government: Cut out junk food ads in schools

It's not just about what America's kids are getting in the lunch line.
Associated Press
Feb 26, 2014

The Obama administration is moving to phase out junk food advertising on football scoreboards and elsewhere on school grounds — part of a broad effort to combat child obesity and create what Michelle Obama calls "a new norm" for today's schoolchildren and future generations.

"This new approach to eating and activity is not just a fad," Mrs. Obama said Tuesday as she described the proposed rules at the White House.

Promotion of sugary drinks and junk foods around campuses during the school day would be phased out under the Agriculture Department rules, which are intended to ensure that marketing is brought in line with health standards that already apply to food served by public schools.

That means a scoreboard at a high school football or basketball game eventually wouldn't be allowed to advertise Coca-Cola, for example, though it could advertise Diet Coke or Dasani water, also owned by Coca-Cola Co. Same with the front of a vending machine. Cups, posters and menu boards that promote foods that don't meet federal standards would also be phased out.

Ninety-three percent of such marketing in schools is related to beverages. And many soda companies already have started to transition their sales and advertising in schools from sugary sodas and sports drinks to other products they produce. Companies are spending $149 million a year on marketing to kids in schools, according to the Agriculture Department.

The announcement at the White House was part of a week of events marking the fourth anniversary of the first lady's "Let's Move" program. Mrs. Obama also traveled to Miami Tuesday to announce that the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Recreation and Park Association will serve more fruits and vegetables at after-school programs and ensure kids get 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day. NBC's "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler introduced the first lady.

The proposed school marketing rules come on the heels of federal regulations that now require food in school lunch lines to be more healthful than in the past.

Separate rules, which are to go into effect in September, will cover other food around school as well, including in vending machines and "a la carte" lines in the lunch room. Calorie, fat, sugar and sodium limits now will have to be met on almost every food and beverage sold during the school day, as mandated by a 2010 child nutrition law.

Even though diet sodas would be allowed in high schools under the proposed rules announced Tuesday, the rules don't address the question raised by some as to whether those drinks are actually healthful alternatives to sugary soda.

Some healthful-food rules have come under fire from conservatives who say the government shouldn't dictate what kids eat — and from some students who don't like the new alternatives.

Mrs. Obama defended herself against critics, saying that "I didn't create this issue." She said kids will eventually get used to the changes.

"That's our job as parents, to hold steady through the whining," she said.

Aware of the backlash, the Agriculture Department is allowing schools to make some of their own decisions on what constitutes marketing and is asking for comments on some options. For example, the proposal asks for comments on initiatives like Pizza Hut's "Book It" program, which coordinates with schools to reward kids with pizza for reading.

Rules for other school fundraisers, like bake sales and marketing for those events, would be left up to schools or states.

Off-campus fundraisers, like an event at a local fast-food outlet that benefits a school, still would be permitted. But posters advertising the fast food may not be allowed in school hallways. An email to parents — with or without the advertising — would have to suffice. The idea is to market to the parents, not the kids.

The rules also make allowances for major infrastructure costs — that scoreboard advertising Coca-Cola, for example, wouldn't have to be immediately torn down. But the school would have to get one with a different message or product the next time it was replaced.

Schools that don't want to comply could leave the National School Lunch Program, which allows schools to collect government reimbursements for free and low-cost lunches for needy students in exchange for following certain standards. Very few schools choose to give up those government dollars, though.

The beverage industry — led by Coca-Cola Co., Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo — is on board with the new rules. American Beverage Association President and CEO Susan Neely said in a statement that aligning signage with the more healthful drinks that will be offered in schools is the "logical next step."

The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rules, which also would allow more children access to free lunches and ensure that schools have wellness policies in place.

The 2010 child nutrition law expanded food programs for hungry students. The rules being proposed Tuesday would increase that even further by allowing the highest-poverty schools to serve lunch and breakfast to all students for free, with the cost shared between the federal government and the schools. According to the Agriculture Department and the White House, that initiative would allow 9 million children in 22,000 schools to receive free lunches.

The department already has tested the program in 11 states.



The wookie has spoken! It knows what is best for everyone. Reminds me of Demolition Man.

Darwin's choice

Here's a response to her comments while ontvthe other night...

Seems this child knows more about the Constitution than obama....


Congrats to YoMamma, for today's Most Racist Comment. Might I suggest you hop in your time machine and return back to 2014, from 1955 (or wherever in the distant past you appear to reside?). You really should be ashamed.

Even without the racist element, your comment is silly. Mrs. Obama is simply reinforcing healthy viewpoints that the scientific community has already proven. And it's because of undereducated people like yourself - who never sit and read scientific studies - that her advocacy for healthy eating is needed.

OK, you can return to your Doritos and reality TV. Sorry to bother you.


So you think someone who is clinically overweight should be lecturing us on a healthy lifestyle? Well I guess in your case you need someone to lead you around and keep you out of trouble since your fragile mental state can cause you to be a bit impulsive. The rest of us got along fine before the Obama's and will continue to do well long after they are gone. As for racist comments well, liberals have little credibility when speaking about racism since history shows they were against civil rights before they supported them. Liberal guilt to that end is the reason you throw up the race card anytime someone disagrees with the Obama's. How does it feel to part of a sinking minority that still supports him?


Clinically overweight? You know this how? Just fine? Is that why America is FAT and very unhealthy. I know you see it in your job all the time. You are part of that "sinking" minority you speak of. It is ridiculous for you haters to have a problem with promoting healthy eating. Look around. Your preteens are bigger than you. NEXT!


Women carry their weight in the hips and buttocks. While Mrs. Obama is thin up top she is hefty right in the area that woman deposit excess fat. While there are several mentions of her body weight in the research I did, it has been listed frequently as between 180-192. In most outlets it has been reported as 187 and her height 5'11". This would give her a BMI of 26.1, which is in the overweight category. I have no problem with her promoting (educating) people on healthy lifestyle choices, I think America needs it, as you are correct that people are just getting fatter (my back from having to lift them everyday, can attest to that). Where I disagree is promotion through force or legislation. Last I checked we are a free country, while I believe people should live a healthy lifestyle, I don't think the government should have there nose in my kitchen or kids lunch boxes anymore than it should be in the bedroom of two consenting adults (regardless of orientation).


No one is sticking their nose in your kid's lunch box. You can pack them whatever you want. But when your kid eats a lunch provided by the school, aka the government, then have every right to decide what will or will not be in that lunch.


Mrs. Obama.......why would you call Barry that? Lol. She's like a Muslim Nancy Grace, annoying!


Your dad was your granddad. Limbaugh annoying.


coasterfan, did you forget that too many Republics do NOT believe in science? Yup. Little do they realize that if you mix the John Burch Society in equal parts and the 3 remaining Flat Earth Society members you get the Tea Bag Party. (I'm sure they will dispute this "scientific fact" too.)


I was thinking that if the government would cut back on food stamps the government could save money ergo persons not wanting to work would then have to find a job and work and that would be a healthy thing to do as a little physical activity is good for the body.


(Sugar + Salt = Obesity) (Obesity + Ignorance = an Obese T-begger) (an Obese T-begger + Voting Rights = Institutionalized Insanity)


Re: "The Obama administration is moving to phase out junk food advertising on football scoreboards and elsewhere on school grounds,"

The Central Committee has spoken.

So the loss in funding will be made up how?


Easy. The financial costs of providing longterm medical care for the obese and overweight are huge. If we can cut down on obesity, we cut down on the costs of treating the obese. I recently read that each American pays more than $400 each year in additional health care premiums to subsidize health care costs of the obese.

If you're so concerned about schools losing a little funding through advertising, dear Contango, can I assume that you're equally upset that Gov. Kasich brought much larger cuts to Public Education funding in Ohio?

The interesting thing is that, for some conservatives, their opposition to everything the Obamas say or do is SO habitual, that they even oppose him on common-sense issues we should ALL be in agreement on. In this case they are, in effect, taking a pro-obesity stance, simply because Michelle is taking an anti-obesity stance. Seriously dudes, do you actually think Mrs. Obama is doing something wrong by encouraging American kids to eat better?

When parents follow poor nutrition habits and are overweight/obese themselves, they usually pass those poor habits on to their kids. Every time we go to WalMart, we see fat parents with even fatter kids, and I'm sorry, but they lose all moral ground when they lug out the old "I know what's best for my own child" argument. Uh, no they don't.

There is an epidemic of 8-10 year olds in America being treated for fatty liver and Type 2 diabetes - conditions that didn't use to show up until people were middle-aged. These are kids who will have medical problems and quality of life issues for the rest of their lives. Who do you think pays for that? They do, their parents do, and WE do. If Republicans were truly concerned about healthcare costs, they would support Michelle on this issue, or at least have the good sense to shut up.

Every First Lady has found a pet issue to advocate. Michelle is doing absolutely nothing different than any of the other Presidents' wives before her, and you know it.


Re: "If we can cut down on obesity,"

Love your ad nauseum, central planning Statist nonsense of:

"If," "if," "if." Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Read and learn: Obesity is a worldwide epidemic.

Govts tends to overcompensate after-the-fact.

Unless the U.S. Soviet Central Committee mandates foodie gulags and fat re-education camps this is small ball and about as effective as Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” program.


Re: "cuts to Public Education funding in Ohio?"

More funding for the public union special interests and the Democrat campaign slush funds?

Money ain't the issue, personal motivation is.


It's always about money with you. How much money can you spend if you are dead from being very unhealthy?


Re: "It's always about money with you"

Not to worry; as you'll be on a extreme diet from the few crumbs that the govt. will give you as a senior.

You heard money speak one time didn't you? It said: Bye, bye.


You really need to indulge in a better spirit!


Re: "You,"

Typical of you: Wander off into nonsense.

Enjoy the govt. crumbs!


Yet the gov't let's SNAP card user's buy all of the same foods that Ms Obama is railing against. Coaster why aren't you advocating against those purchase's? After all most SNAP card user's that I see are overweight.


You don't get it they looked different. Look at most of these post on here all the ones who complain about whatever she says or do always will post some racist bs to show why they really have a problem with her.


I recall the days when these ads and junk foods were not allowed at all in the schools. I think it was during the Reagan administration that the rules were eliminated to allow the ads and abandonment of the Type A lunch programs.

At the time the health care industry was appalled but as usual the government bowed to corporate interests to profit off of children.


Mrs Obama should stay out of my business and quit telling me that our daily trip to McDonalds is bad for my kids. It's a free country I can take my kids to McDonalds whenever I want and I shouldn't have to feel bad about it! She should start to work on more important things in this country like making sure two dudes can't get married.. Now there's a real problem! #teaparty2016




So Nancy Reagan should is just shut the hell up and quit telling us to just say no. And Laura bush to quit telling kids to just read after all there is numerous kids in the ghetto and trail or parks everywhere who can't read so the women with a body like a boy should mind her business. Or does it matter Matt because they are not Mrs.obama


I have no idea what you're trying to say but my comment was sarcastic. Unfortunately it fits in with pretty much everything else being said here

mimi's word

I truly hope this is sarcasm....McDonalds was supposed to be a treat...and every once in awhile thing but anymore it is used weekly if not daily!!! I have worked in the fast food industry for many years off and on as a second job. Very rarely do you see healthy people driving is extremely overweight woman in their mini vans with their over weoght kids ordering $50 worth of food thru the drive thru!

Stop It

When FLOTUS loses some of that fata$$ on her, someone might listen.


LOL. Michelle' measurements, 5'11" 187 lbs. BMI 26.1 overweight. Yup, she should be the spokesperson for healthy eating.