by Marion Nestle
Apr 28 2014

Act now: support USDA’s wellness policies for schools

Now is the time to tell USDA you support its proposed guidelines for nutrition education, physical activity, and junk food marketing in schools:

The bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandated that the USDA set guidelines for what needed to be included in local school wellness policies in areas such as setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, informing parents about content of the policy and implementation, and periodically assessing progress and sharing updates as appropriate. As part of local school wellness policies, the proposed guidelines would ensure that foods and beverages marketed to children in schools are consistent with the recently-released Smart Snacks in School standards. Ensuring that unhealthy food is not marketed to children is one of the First Lady’s top priorities; that is why it is so important for schools to reinforce the importance of healthy choices and eliminate marketing of unhealthy products.

Here are two easy ways to make sure USDA follows through on the guidelines:

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has a website set up for quick letters:

While many schools have adopted policies over the past few years to support healthy eating and physical activity, implementation has not been uniformly strong. USDA’s proposed updates will strengthen implementation, help parents be better informed about the policies, and provide schools with more tools and resources.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) asks for signatures on a letter urging the USDA to ban all advertising in schools:

The USDA is urging schools only to limit junk food marketing. By attempting to set a ceiling that prohibits advertising for unhealthy foods, the USDA may set a floor that opens the floodgates for many other types of marketing in schools, setting a dangerous precedent that goes far beyond food.

Now is the time….


  • Casey

    Sign both? I feel like it’s a Catch 22 because I want the junk food marketing out of schools but don’t want to open the floodgates. Will you help us get the Joe Camel of type 2 diabetes out of school? Hijack #RonaldMcDonald with #MomsNotLovinIt:…/27/help-hijack-ronaldmcdonald/

  • Brian Klein

    While it’s easy for me to get behind the ban on all advertising and increased exercise, I still cannot get behind the guidelines on nutrition. A low-fat diet based on grain is not a good diet. This diet is why we are in an obesity epidemic. It’s the policies of the usda that have caused this. If you look at the food plan put in place, it emphasizes an inordinate amount of bad carbohydrates. Carbohydrates aren’t bad, it’s just the kind of carbohydrates being pushed by the usda that are bad. Replace all but one serving of grains with veggies. Prepare the veggies in butter, not vegetable oil. In fact, ban all vegetable oil (canola, corn, soy, etc.) Switch out low fat milk for whole milk. Give them eggs and hashbrowns (cooked in olive oil or butter) for breakfast, not cinnamon rolls and Kix. Keep the fruit, but don’t increase it. I think we’d see a drastic change in the obesity epidemic, as well as better classroom behavior, less mental illness, less sickness, and smarter, more well-adjusted children.

  • 360CompleteLiving

    This is so much required act by gov. Untill we imbibe them about healthy eating, current scenario will not change. Health ministries must take some action about it.

  • MargaretRC

    I agree 100% Brian. Kids need fat, protein, fruits and vegetables. They do not need a grain based diet. Not saying they shouldn’t have any grains, but if fat is included in their meal plan, they won’t over do the sugar and grains. I could never sign anything in support of such guidelines, though I agree with the part about not advertising to kids and getting them to move.

  • Peggy Holloway

    Thanks for posting this. i was getting ready to write a similar post, and now I don’t have to. I would eliminate all grains, however, but otherwise agree with what you have written.