Michelle Obama Takes Aim at Junk Food Ads in Schools

michelle obama

Michelle Obama is really serious about not promoting junk foods to kids. That’s not news, of course, but a new rule proposed by the Obama administration could take her commitment a step further.

The new rule would prevent schools from marketing junk foods or sugary drinks on scoreboards, cups, posters, menu boards and other places around campuses that can be seen by children.

As part of her Let’s Move initiative, the proposed rule was announced by the First Lady and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at a recent White House event.

“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.”

According to the Associated Press, more than 90 percent of marketing in schools is beverage-related, and many soda companies “already have started to transition their sales and advertising in schools from sugary sodas and sports drinks to their own healthier products.”

But, the USDA reports that major soda and junk food brands are spending nearly $150 million a year marketing these products to children while in school, even though many school systems in the country no longer sell these products.

More children would have free lunch access as part of the new rule, and schools would also have wellness policies in place. “Rules set to go into effect next school year will make other foods around school healthier as well, including in vending machines and separate ‘a la carte’ lines in the lunch room,” reports AP. “Calorie, fat, sugar and sodium limits will have to be met on almost every food and beverage sold during the school day at 100,000 schools. Concessions sold at afterschool sports games would be exempt.”

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Image: U.S. Army