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Issue Date: Vol. 54, No. 3, March 2014, Posted On: 2/26/2014

First Lady Wants To Nix Ads On School Vending Machines

Emily Jed
TAGS: soda advertising, vending machines, school vending, MIchelle Obama, Let's Move!, combat obesity, Smart Snacks in School guidelines, school vending machine rules

WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama has suggested new rules to limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools, including on vending machines. The move comes as the first lady's Let's Move! initiative to combat obesity marks its fourth anniversary.

Under her proposed federal regulations, food and beverage companies would no longer be allowed to promote foods and beverages that don't conform to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Smart Snacks in School guidelines on vending machines, and on signage and posters around school grounds during the school day.

The Smart Snacks in School interim rules, issued by the USDA last June, establish fat, salt and sugar content limits for competitive products sold outside federally supported meal programs. The rules apply to food and beverages sold through vending machines, in student stores and at snack bars, and as a la carte items. They will take effect July 1, 2014.

"The idea here is simple -- our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren't bombarded with ads for junk food," the first lady said. "Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn't be undone by unhealthy messages at school."

Under the proposal, beverage companies could market their branded lines of bottled water, but not sugary soft drinks. Concessions sold at afterschool sports games would be exempt from the first lady's proposed advertising ban.

The recommended rules include a plan to extend the free lunch and breakfast program. Schools that already have a large number of students eligible for free lunch or breakfast will be encouraged to expand it to all students.

To help schools implement the wellness policies, the USDA has launched School Nutrition Environment and Wellness Resources website.

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