Dear Secretary Vilsack:
I join the thousands of members of MomsRising.org in appreciating USDA’s work to improve nutrition and physical activity in schools, and we strongly support the “Local School Wellness Policy Implementation” proposed rule, especially the provision to stem junk food marketing and advertisements in schools.
We’ve worked so hard to remove junk food from our schools, so why should we continue to promote them?
As you know, over the last three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled. This puts our kids at risk for health-related diseases including Type II Diabetes and heart disease. Like me, moms and dads across this country think this is a big deal.
Because children spend many hours at school, it is critical that schools adopt policies that support healthy eating and physical activity. In particular, I am excited to see that the proposed local wellness policy standards would finally ensure only nutritious foods that meet USDA standards will be allowed to be marketed and advertised in schools.
I strongly support the following in the rule:
All local school wellness policies should address specific goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. In addition, the policies should address nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available during the school day, and should only permit marketing of foods and beverages that meet USDA’s “Smart Snacks” standards.
There should be at least one school official who serves as the designated contact for the wellness policy and who has authority and responsibility to ensure that each school complies with the policy.
A diverse team of stakeholders, including parents, school officials, students, community members, etc., should be involved in developing and implementing the local wellness policy. In addition, the policy and assessment of implementation should be made publicly available.
Regular assessments of the local wellness policy, as well as annual reports to demonstrate schools’ progress toward meeting wellness policy goals, are essential for ensuring that each school complies with the policy.
Thank you for proposing these much-needed updates to strengthen nutrition and physical activity in schools. I urge you to quickly finalize the rule, and work with schools to ensure full implementation.
Let's support Local Wellness Policies in schools!
Your message to friends:
I just submitted a comment in support of strengthening Local Wellness Policies in schools, which would include curbing junk food ads in schools. Please take a moment to sign your name, too!
See the message below for more information.
Can you believe this? There's even junk food marketing in our schools. It's enough to have to deal with junk food marketing pretty much everywhere else. But it certainly shouldn't be reading, writing, and junk food ads in schools!
Help us get junk food marketing out of our schools: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/LWP/?source=taf
That's right! There are no national standards about what can, and cannot, be advertised to kids in schools, even though there are great new standards for what foods can be sold in schools starting next school year!
Providing healthier snacks at school has been shown to help kids make healthier choices all day long.  Advertisements are powerful. So, having a school offer healthier choices in vending machines and a la carte lines while at the same time promoting unhealthy choices through junk food marketing can be confusing to say the least.
It's hard enough for an adult to make the right decision when bombarded with marketing. Children are even more vulnerable to aggressive marketing. It is difficult for young children to even tell the difference between ads and programs when watching television shows. 
Healthy schools must not only serve healthy food, they must also promote healthy options! Let's make sure that the school environment becomes healthier all around. http://action.momsrising.org/sign/LWP/?source=taf
Why do we need to get junk and junk ads out of schools?
Progress is being made but we are still in the midst of a serious children's health crisis. Today, 23 million children in the United States are at greater risk for nutrition-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure because they are overweight or obese.  We know that schools and the school environment play a tremendous role in what foods and beverages children eat and drink, as well as the choices they make when they leave school. 
Last year, MomsRising.org members like you were among the 250,000 people who successfully spoke up in support of healthier standards for snacks sold in school vending machines and a la carte lines. It was an amazing victory, and this coming school year those new Smart Snacks standards go into effect. We must keep up the MOMentum!
Let's keep the pressure on and turn the page on this health crisis by making healthier messages an all-day affair for kids in schools.
Together, we are a strong force for women and families!
- Monifa, Donna, Migdalia, Karen, dream and the rest of the MomsRising.org team!
1) Alaimo, Katherine et al. Effects of Changes in Lunch-Time Competitive Foods, Nutrition Practices and Nutrition Policies on Low-Income Middle-School Children’s Diets. Obesity. Volume: 9 Issue 6: December 9, 2013. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/chi.2013.0052
2) The Impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity. The American Psychological Association. Accessed on 4/19/2014. http://www.apa.org/topics/kids-media/food.aspx
3) Overweight in Children. The American Heart Association. Accessed on 4/19/2014. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp
4) Alaimo, Katherine et al. Effects of Changes in Lunch-Time Competitive Foods, Nutrition Practices and Nutrition Policies on Low-Income Middle-School Children’s Diets. Obesity. Volume: 9 Issue 6: December 9, 2013. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/chi.2013.0052
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