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.

Comments

deertracker

It's obvious those measurements are way off. LOL!

KnuckleDragger

Are you kidding? Most of that weight is in her caboose...not that that is a problem. LOL!

santown419

I guess you love the flat boy look? Come on stop it.

themomx6

Look at her smug face in that picture! Looks like she's saying "Child, please!" LOL Makes you just want to slap her.

Maybe she should worry more about her husband's admitted drug use, cigarette smoking, and her own rear end.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.c...

deertracker

Her rear end looks fine to me. Unlike those pancakes I see on other women! CHILD PLEASE!

KnuckleDragger

LOL. You bet, nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk.

The Big Dog's back

Jealous there momx6.

deertracker

Sounds like it to me!

Contango

Just wait until the progressive-socialists achieve their "free" single payer, totally taxpayer funded healthcare scheme.

All Americans will be slender and healthy while living in the wondrous Land of Cockayne.

FORWARD SOVIET!

DickTracey

We have to be slender, so that our government issued uniforms will fit us.

Truth2u

.

Truth2u

The next mandate from Obama will be that everyone must wear green clothes. We all know who would argue on this forum for its support..

KnuckleDragger

Coasternut probably already has a closet full of green polyester leisure suits anyway.

jacksonbrowne

The ingrediants of diet pop are just as as harmful as regular pop. Just has different effects on the body.

DickTracey

That expression and hand gesture, belongs on the stage of a Jerry Springer show, not on the face of a First "Lady",

That look comes right before the head roll and neck moving like a bobble head doll, as a finger gets pointed and lips form into the fish pout and say, "Oh..no..you..did ent, giiirrrrll !"

BabyMomma

That's a stereotype, and no matter how true or funny they are.....there is no place for that nonsense in our no sense of humor having America.

santown419

Who does that your mom. Leave TV for TV.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Good question, huh?

wheresyourpride's picture
wheresyourpride

Don't agree with the gov nonsense of telling us what we can or cannot eat or how much our serving size can be. I believe if that's the case then welfare recipients should be very limited to what they can purchase. On a side note I think Michelle Obama carries her weight well and dresses appropriately for her body type.

DickTracey

Michelle dresses appropriately ?

In this economy it is appropriate to spend $12,000 on a dress that she wore for only four hours?

That 12 grand would feed a lot of hungry little kids.

Pete

That many square yards of fabric would shelter a lot of disaster victims!

DickTracey

"Oh no you di ent, just go there, Pete!"

mikeylikesit

if it wasn't mrs. obama telling us how to feed our kids, it would be some other lazy a-hole. meanwhile their kids are being fed and raised by a nanny..

wheresyourpride's picture
wheresyourpride

Someone got paid nicely for making that dress correct? So how does that hurt the economy? Also some of her items will be in museums ECT and auctioned off for charities. I don't care for the obamas personally, but come on aren't we nit picking a lil to much here?

wheresyourpride's picture
wheresyourpride

Someone got paid nicely for making that dress correct? So how does that hurt the economy? Also some of her items will be in museums ECT and auctioned off for charities. I don't care for the obamas personally, but come on aren't we nit picking a lil to much here?

lmalley77

I have a suggestion, how about about the government do an overhaul of the food system in America period! Americans are obese because fast food and junk food are cheaper to obtain than healthy food and fruits and vegetables that our body needs!! It has nothing to do with what is advertised in schools, it has to do with what people can afford to feed their family when they are already scraping change together just to eat period!

Trigger from Erie

False. Even the New York Times has rejected that canard. A bag of chips can cost a whole lot more than a loaf of bread, peanut butter, rice, beans, or chicken sometimes. The only thing worse than people with limited resources making terrible decisions is the people who insist on making excuses for them.

lmalley77

Trigger...I can GUARANTEE you that if you and I went to the grocery store together, and you buy a cart full of junk food and I buy a cart full of lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and other healthy food items, my cart would cost at LEAST twice as much as yours!! Get your facts right, you 1) either don't do the grocery shopping in your home or 2) you haven't compared apples to oranges (per say) lately!!! When 1.88 pounds of regular grapes costs $5.40, there is a HUGE problem with the food costs in America!!! If the FDA would get rid of all the fake and artificial food that we put into our bodies, I can also guarantee you that Americans would NOT be overweight! Why don't you Google about the food that is offered in grocery stores these days, and what they are filled with! The government is controlling us not only by telling us what NOT to eat, but by poisoning us right before our very eyes! WAKE UP!

deertracker

That is SO TRUE! Poisoning us as in U.S.

Trigger from Erie

Eggs, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, oats, leafy greens, and--again--chicken...I could go on. If grapes are expensive, don't buy grapes. People have to have not only a willingness to eat healthy but a willingness to actually prepare food. That is half the problem. Many people opt for convenience foods, which tend to be less healthy. That is by far the bigger factor in the health of many low-income individuals. There are many savvy, low-income families that eat healthy on a small budget. It's just a fact. You're not giving people nearly enough credit. Please stop making excuses for the unhealthy.

And stop blaming the FDA for putting "fake" food in your body. Poor quality food doesn't jump off grocery store shelves and into people's mouths.

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