Plugged In: First Lady Pushes Proposal to Ban Junk Food Ads in School

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First Lady Michelle Obama proposed new rules Tuesday, February 25, 2014, that would limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools. (Photo credit: Pool via CNN)

First Lady Michelle Obama proposed new rules Tuesday, February 25, 2014, that would limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools. (Photo credit: Pool via CNN)

First Lady Michelle Obama proposed new rules Tuesday, February 25, 2014, that would limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools. (Photo credit: Pool via CNN)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — New rules first lady Michelle Obama proposed on Tuesday would limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools.

Under the suggested federal regulations, companies would no longer be permitted to use logos of high calorie products on cups, vending machines or posters, a common sight in schools around the nation.

“We’ll be eliminating advertisements for unhealthy food and beverages in our schools. Because I think we can all agree that our classrooms should be healthy places where our kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food,” the first lady said at an event in the White House East Room.

Advertising isn’t going away completely — companies would still be allowed to advertise their low-calorie or healthy products to students. Schools will also be able to determine for themselves what types of marketing would be permissible in their facilities. But the days of Coca-Cola or Pepsi using their flagship logos on scoreboards or gymnasium walls may be coming to an end.

Those products are already being phased out in schools, and officials characterized the announcement as a way to bring marketing in hallways and football fields in line with new regulations for healthier school meals.

“Schools aren’t going to market beverages they’re not selling,” said Sam Kass, the White House chef who also acts as the White House senior nutrition policy adviser.

The proposed guidelines will come as part of the fourth anniversary of the first lady’s Let’s Move initiative, which seeks to combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy food choices and exercise.

Mrs. Obama also unveiled programs offering extended free school lunch programs to 9 million students in 22,000 different schools.

The bulk of advertising in schools comes from drink companies, and on Tuesday the association that represents firms like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper said it supported the new regulations.

“Mrs. Obama’s efforts to continue to strengthen school wellness make sense for the well-being of our schoolchildren,” said Susan Neely, the president of the American Beverage Association, in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the USDA on their proposed rule to align food and beverage signage in schools with the new regulations as the next logical next step.”

The Let’s Move program, launched in 2010, has been one of the first lady’s signature platforms. It’s come under some criticism from some conservatives who use her nutrition and exercise initiatives as evidence of a “nanny state.”

Kass said on Tuesday the new initiative allowed schools to control which marketing could remain, but maintained the federal government has a responsibility to ensure kids are getting healthy messages.

Officials said the proposed regulations would undergo a USDA-facilitated comment period, which would determine how much time schools get to remove or replace existing signage for products that aren’t deemed healthy.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, said the initiative puts more control in the hands of parents.

“It’s very important that parents are able to determine, to the greatest extent possible, what their kids are exposed to,” he told CNN. “You can do that in your home – that’s your responsibility and that’s your right. As schools we need to say what is it that every kid should be exposed to and protected from?”

33 comments

    • the mom

      My son use to come home hungry because the school was forced to cut portion sizes and not allow kid’s to buy extras of what they can force down. Yet she is worried about pop posters I pack my kids lunch and the first time they tried to toss his “unhealthy” pb&j lunch in the trash I had his Dr write a note outlining his disabilities and his recommended food list that is sensory integration compatible (which includes his pb&j, bag of chips, spirit and his gummy treat) eat that obama my kid no longer comes home hungry and the school can kma.. she needs to back off our kid’s and worry about her own

  • Kevin B.

    It really does not matter who is in office, they (the government) want to micromanage and control every single aspect of our lives.. To make sure were are not abusing our freedom.

  • ziggy

    Inner city kids are killing each other in record numbers. Raping, robbing and assaulting like it is a sport. They abuse drugs like they are candy. And most of them are too illiterate to function working at a fast-food restaurant. And she is focusing her ‘great power’ on keeping little Trayvon from eating junk food.

    • SoSueMe

      Well said ziggy. But I’m sure someone will post on here that you’re a racist because you stating facts. Here it comes, 1 2 3…

    • Jason

      Careful Ziggy. The media doesn’t like it when their dog and pony shows get sh** on. Nobody ever talks about the real problems not only in this city, but around this country. And when someone states what you and I agree on, our comments magically disappear from discussion boards. That’s how the media avoids the real world topics. They would rather you and I worry about how much sugar our kids eat, or a kitty getting to cold in the snow.

  • Channa

    Ouch! I thought it was Arnold Schwarzenegger that started the fitness/healthy way in schools? Did I miss something? I don’t have a problem with healthier eating habits, but I am having a problem when we send packed lunches with our kids for this reason and the lunches are taken from the kids and thrown out, just because it had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that the little girl next to him is allergic too? I didn’t send it to school for her to eat. When did the decision making leave the hands of the parents and go to the government?

  • r. barbieri

    I grew up on penny candy as a kid with my friends, and my friends and I are just fine now that we are grown up. It’s all about limiting how much you eat . Has the first lady forgotton that this is America…….freedom of choice by the people. She needs a new hobby.

  • Meaghan Feerick Wehagen

    it’s a lot easier to ban things than to find a way to sell people on your cause. it would be much more impressive if she were using her clout to drum up enthusiasm for exercise clubs or healthy cooking classes, rather than to knock down just a tiny portion of the ad bombardment kids receive from junk food companies.

  • Maria

    I sub in a lunch room and the kids will eat what they want… I watch them take what they have to take and throw it away. You can make them take an apple but you can’t make them eat it. The parents that pay for these lunches have no idea what gets eaten & what goes in the garbage.

  • Lynn

    Hi ALL, I grew up in a generation, their was NO ‘junk’ (FOOD) in schools… and that generation knew how to do push ups, climb ropes, and any other activity… and cereal WITH MILK was about the only, junk food for breakfast, lunch OR, snack after school… Since it appears parenting GOOD health habits, were, over powered, by manufacturers, its time those SAME manufactures pay for the encouragement of HEALTHY, eating habits… OR pay the after affect.. called MEDICAL CARE. Good eating habits may start in the home, but advertisement and SOCIETY CONTROLS, the ‘influence’ of the youth’s inner circle.

  • Laura

    We can’t get levies pass to save our schools and this is what she is worried about? When the Cleveland schools had so many snow days in a row, didn’t they say how worried they were because a lot of these kids that rely on these meals wouldn’t be getting them at home? And she is worried about pop posters? Come on First Lady, look beyond your daughter’s private schools and see the real problem of our children in the public schools that go to bed hungry at night!

  • Bonnie

    why don’t she mind her own business. take care of her own 2 kids and leave the rest alone. sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. we can take care of our children without her or the government’s interference !!

  • Isabella's Page

    I wish she would keep her nose out of what our kids eat. Due to her and portion sizes being cut down there is kids going home hungry. For some kids the only meals they get all day long is from school. Now if she was trying to conquer the hunger issues our kids face I would be in her corner. We, the parents, choose what our kids eat, not her. ~Donna~

  • SoSueMe

    Okay FOX8, you change the article off the main home page now. I’ve seen enough of her. Or are you going to keep that pic of Michelle Obama there, while throwing more important stories to the back burner?

  • TOWJAY

    THE FIRST LADY NEEDS TO FIND BETTER THINGS TO DO ,STOP TAKING THE CHILDHOOD FROM KIDS AND GO GET A BETTER JOB
    YOU CANT TAKE AWAY PEOPLES RIGHTS,IL BE GLAD WHEN THEY ARE BOTH OUT OF OFFICE AND BACK IN THE GHETTOS OF CHICAGO,LEAVE EVERYONE ALONE WITH YOUR SELF CENTERED STUPID IDEAS,THIS IS CALLED VIOLATING PEOPLES RIGHTS,GO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO LIKE MAYBE STOP THE LAZY PEOPLE FROM BUYING MCDONALDS OR JUNKFOOD WITH THE OBAMA FREE FOOD CARD,COME ON LETS GET BACK TO REALIZATION HERE,MAYBE A ND TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO FIND THE LAZY PEOPLE WORK OR HELP OTHER PEOPLE KEEP THERE HOUSES AND JOBS THEY ARE LOSING OR ALREADY LOST,GO GET A LIFE MICHELLE

  • TOWJAY

    WE WILL ALL BE HAPPY WHEN THE UHAUL TRUCK PULLS UP TO THE WHITEHOUSE AND TRUCKS THEM BACK TO WHERE THEY BELONG,STOP PICKING ON OUR KIDS AND WORRY ABOUT YOUR OWN,YOUR NOT FEEDING OUR KIDS SO YOU DONT HAVE ANY SAY WHAT THEY HAVE TO OR WANT TO EAT,WHAT A JOKE FOR A PRESIDENT OR FIRST LADY

  • Rich

    “the days of Coca-Cola or Pepsi using their flagship logos on scoreboards or gymnasium walls may be coming to an end”

    Newsflash Mrs. Obama: Those advertisements are in many cases the only thing keeping sports and other after-school programs going with so many levies failing and schools not having money to afford keeping non-essential programs in place. Who is going to foot the bill for that?

    Also, the eating habits kids have at home and when they are out are not going to change by forcing more “healthy” options on schools. All that does is hurt the schools and waste more food because kids don’t want to eat those things. Ask anyone in food service how much of the “healthy option” food gets wasted. It hasn’t worked in businesses either where HR departments have tried to enforce healthy options in vending machines … I know the reason is to save health care costs for the company but seriously, if people just bring in their own snacks and don’t buy the “healthy” ones, how much savings is there?

    And kudos to the person who asked about junk food being purchased on food stamps. Good question …

Comments are closed.