February 25th, 2014
09:12 AM ET
7 months ago

New rules would ban junk food from being marketed in schools

Updated 1:02 p.m. ET, 2/25/2014

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?”


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. rs

    With one-third of kids overweight or obese, this seems sensible. Junk-food makers can make profits elsewhere.

    February 25, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Stop joke, Pepsi etc too. With Donuts.

    February 25, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The nanny state continues to dictate to citizens what they can and cannot do........even in what they eat or drink.

    February 25, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  4. smith

    No junk food but go ahead and smoke a joint..smh

    February 25, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Donna

    Let's see... cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol and now even food items. Where does this far left liberal madness end?

    But when asked if this very same advertising of violent movies, games and music affects kids, the very same liberals say of course not, no proof, no way.

    February 25, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Anyone who has volunteered/worked at a grade school should understand the importance of promoting healthy food choices and exercise to America's youngest generation.

    I'll leave the parents of obese children to come to terms with their parenting choices and how it affects their children throughout their lives.

    I also applaud FLOTUS Michelle Obama for her efforts in bringing obesity to the front burner of childhood education.

    February 25, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    The nanny state continues to dictate to citizens what they can and cannot do........even in what they eat or drink.

    Donna
    Let's see... cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol and now even food items. Where does this far left liberal madness end?

    But when asked if this very same advertising of violent movies, games and music affects kids, the very same liberals say of course not, no proof, no way.
    _____________
    They are children- at best citizens without legal status (driving, voting, etc.). Children do have limited critical thinking skills- and placing junk food in schools gives it credibility it does not deserve. Really? You two think corporations should be able to prey on them in schools? Good God, what's wrong with healthy food in school? Or, has your worship of the almighty dollar warped your values that badly? Or, (more likely I'll bet) it is simply because of where this initiative originated, and hence just reflexive?

    February 25, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    Rick McDaniel

    The nanny state continues to dictate to citizens what they can and cannot do........even in what they eat or drink.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Uh, no. Your so-called "nanny state" is suggesting that junk food NOT be promoted or offered in taxpayer funded facilities. If you want to send your kid to school with a five pound bag of sugar for lunch nobody's stopping you. The First Lady is proposing that the school will no longer compromise your kid's health, and instead offer then something that's actually good for them. Anyone who has a problem with that really should stand back and reassess what their REAL problem is.

    February 25, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    The goal is admirable. The methodolgy is questionable.

    February 25, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    Donna

    Let's see... cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol and now even food items. Where does this far left liberal madness end?

    But when asked if this very same advertising of violent movies, games and music affects kids, the very same liberals say of course not, no proof, no way.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Do you REALLY want to sell alcohol and tobacco in public schools? Really? REALLY???!!! Honestly donna, what wrong with you?!

    February 25, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "Where does this far left liberal madness end?"

    Just as soon as we've made your tinfoil hats illegal.

    February 25, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair

    The goal is admirable. The methodolgy is questionable.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What "methodology"? Public facilities are under no obligation to promote corporations or their products.

    February 25, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. smith

    @Donnna-Dems won`t say anything to hollywood because they are one the biggest political donors to the democrat party.

    February 25, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "But when asked if this very same advertising of violent movies, games and music affects kids, the very same liberals say of course not, no proof, no way."

    Do you not understand the concept of relying on scientific studies to make assertions? Just because you run around pulling accusations and assertions out of thin air, or based on some sort of "folksy wisdom" that tells you "of course" your assertions are correct because "it just makes sense," doesn't mean the people who are disagreeing with you are doing the same thing and are not relying on objective studies, etc.

    February 25, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. rs

    Malory Archer
    Donna

    Let's see... cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol and now even food items. Where does this far left liberal madness end?

    But when asked if this very same advertising of violent movies, games and music affects kids, the very same liberals say of course not, no proof, no way.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Do you REALLY want to sell alcohol and tobacco in public schools? Really? REALLY???!!! Honestly donna, what wrong with you?!
    _____________________
    It is the mindlessness of the Right that is so numbing. No matter how much sense the initiative makes (i.e. it is for children's health), because it comes from the government (and potentially this President and his family) whatever it is it is inherently evil. These people are sell-outs to the human race.

    February 25, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. rs

    smith
    @Donnna-Dems won`t say anything to hollywood because they are one the biggest political donors to the democrat party.
    ______________
    And "Hollywood" does what in public schools exactly?

    February 25, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Waterman

    "Propose"? I would suggest "advise", "suggest", or "recommend", as a right all citizens enjoy. As the first lady she is just a citizen. She was not elected to any official office.

    February 25, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. rs

    Sniffit
    "Where does this far left liberal madness end?"

    Just as soon as we've made your tinfoil hats illegal.
    ____________
    Exactly- When the Right makes sense again, America might listen.

    February 25, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "The methodolgy is questionable."

    Why? Support your assertion. This would be a perfectly legal way of limiting kids' exposure to unhealthy products and help teach them to consume healthy foods and beverages so they learn good eating habits to last them into adulthood.

    February 25, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "It is the mindlessness of the Right that is so numbing. No matter how much sense the initiative makes (i.e. it is for children's health), because it comes from the government (and potentially this President and his family) whatever it is it is inherently evil."

    Au contraire....had this been 2007 and Laura Bush was pushing this idea in the context of her having been a teacher, etc., they'd be all over it. It's only "big government" and "invasive" if a Dem/liberal proposes it.

    February 25, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Propose"? I would suggest "advise", "suggest", or "recommend", as a right all citizens enjoy. As the first lady she is just a citizen. She was not elected to any official office."

    Semantics...the last refuge of those with no real substantive argument. That's pretty petty, man. You're flailing for something to complain about. "Propose" isn't a word that automatically carries connotations of "official" action etc.

    February 25, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "The nanny state continues to dictate to citizens what they can and cannot do........even in what they eat or drink."

    This isn't dictating what anyone can or can't eat or drink. It's dictating what public schools are allowed to do and what is and isn't permitted to take place on their campuses. Grow up.

    February 25, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. bcrunner

    Everyone who cares about our children and the future of this counry should be applauding the First Lady for working hard and not giving up to make our children healthier... Instead, we get some knee-jerk reactions from the haters without any thought put into them... I can't believe that you at least cannot stop at the "water's edge" with your hate...

    February 25, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair

    The goal is admirable. The methodolgy is questionable.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What "methodology"? Public facilities are under no obligation to promote corporations or their products.
    -------
    Oh, I don't know... how about leaving it up to the PARENTS?

    What metrics do they have that proves out the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this approach? How will they know whether or not they've achieved their goal? This is just another "throw something against the wall and see what sticks". And I would be saying this no matter who proposed it – again, the goal is admirable.

    February 25, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |