Parents know from experience that food marketing works. Cartoon characters on cereal boxes and toy giveaways with restaurant kids’ meals appeal to children and influence which foods they ask for and are willing to eat. When you send your children to school, you expect them to learn in an environment that not only promotes learning, but one that is safe and supports their health and wellbeing. Schools have stepped up to the plate by making school meals and snacks healthier. Nutrition education and food marketing in schools should reinforce those efforts and support healthy eating habits
Even though Connecticut has been a national leader in strengthen school nutrition standards, companies marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to students can still be seen in CT schools. Posters and signs, sports uniforms and scoreboards, vending machine exteriors, sponsorships, and incentive programs are all tactics of food companies to market their product or brand within the school environment. If these marketing methods didn’t work, companies wouldn’t be spending almost $150 million on marketing just in schools[i]! This marketing undermines your efforts to feed your children healthfully and cultivate lifelong healthy eating habits.
It is time to stop food and beverage companies from selling our children short. You can become active advocates within your local school district by engaging in some these simple action steps:
- Attend an advocacy training event to learn how you can advocate for healthy marketing in CT schools. Email campaign coordinator Jessica Mahon (Jessica.Mahon@heart.org) to learn of upcoming training events.
- Find out if your school district has an active local school wellness committee. If they do, ask about attending one of their meetings as a parent or community member.
- If you would like additional resources on how to connect with your local school wellness committee and how to start the conversation about addressing marketing in schools email firstname.lastname@example.org:
- For parents, get to your local PTA/PTO or other parent groups or team up with other community organizations to support efforts and ask school officials to adopt a policy that ends unhealthy food and beverage marketing on school property. For additional resources to share with parent groups in regards to how to advocate for healthier school environments email jessica.mahon@heart.