Dallas, TX, Jan. 14, 2014 – Voices for Healthy Kids volunteer and Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont, Dr. Rachel Johnson, issued the following comments today on a new study released in JAMA Pediatrics by researchers at Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and an accompanying editorial by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity that shows schools have a role to play in encouraging kids to eat healthier:
“No parent wants a food fight. Sometimes we give in, but it doesn’t seem fair that while parents are trying teach their kids how to eat healthy, they see ads on TV, billboards, even at school that tell them junk foods are delicious. Unfortunately, two-thirds of elementary schools sampled in this study provided fast food coupons to students. This sends the wrong message to our kids and our parents by a trusted source of learning.
The study also showed that 10 percent of elementary school and 30 percent of high schools served branded fast food weekly in cafeterias and 19 percent of high schools served these foods daily. Middle and high schools with higher percentages of low-income students had more exclusive vending beverage contracts than other schools. We can and should do better for our schools and for our children.
First Lady Michelle Obama recently asked major food companies to 'step up' and market healthy foods. She called on parents to speak out and let these companies know they want to see more popular characters used for healthy foods. We need to show companies that when they offer healthy foods, we choose them.”