Kids spend most of their time in schools — so doesn’t it make sense that we work to make sure the school environment is the healthiest it can be?
Numerous studies have shown that when kids are healthy, they perform better in school. That’s why we were thrilled when the USDA implemented stronger nutrition guidelines for school meals — and we are excited to see them do the same for snacks and drinks, too!
But did you know the food environment in school isn’t just limited to the food and drinks sold on campus? Right now, food companies market unhealthy food and beverages to students in a variety of ways at school, from posters in the hallways to displays on the vending machines to branded educational materials.
For example, two-thirds of elementary schools offer incentive programs that give kids coupons to fast food restaurants for completing academic work. All told, companies spend about $150 million every year marketing directly to students in schools!
That undermines parents who want to instill healthy habits in their kids. It also sends the wrong message about good nutrition to our nation’s young people.
Students spend more than 1,000 hours in school each year. That time should be spent learning and building educational habits, not being targeted by unhealthy marketing.