USDA’s New Guidelines Leave No Room for Junk Food in Schools
The USDA announced today that schools will have to give the boot to unhealthy snacks and junk food ads. New regulations will try to encourage schools to serve “whole grain-rich” dishes, or those mostly made from fruits and vegetables.
The biggest change will be in the advertisements around the school. Under the new rules, any food that is not healthy enough to be served in the school cannot be on advertisements; So all those images of people enjoying soda and chips on vending machines will need to be removed.
A recent study revealed alarming information about those advertisements. It found that 70 percent of elementary and middle school students see junk food ads at their schools. Moreover, after seeing those ads for unhealthy food, kids tend to eat more food in general.
Katie Wilson, deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, said these changes were requested by the schools themselves: “Education and wellness and advertising to kids about healthier choices [and] that all has to be part of the school environment just like making sure they have pencils and paper and computers.”
She also noted that 98 percent of schools already meet these standards. The push toward healthy food has been ongoing for many years now, starting when Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move” campaign in 2010.