October 17, 2017
October 17, 2017
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 841, which prohibits schools from marketing foods that cannot be sold or served in those schools. The addition to the state education code is based on the idea that unhealthy foods that may not be served to students should not be advertised to them, either. The law also prohibits schools from participating in corporate incentive programs that reward students with free or discounted foods or beverages that do not comply with applicable nutritional standards such as the USDA Smart Snacks in School regulations.
Marketing of junk food to children is big business. The Federal Trade Commission has reported that companies spend $149 million annually on food marketing in schools. Such marketing adversely affects students’ eating habits, which are tied to their health and their academic success.
AB 841 was substantially based on a model policy created by ChangeLab Solutions. We also acknowledge and thank the American Heart Association and Public Health Advocates for their instrumental role in the passage of AB 841.
The passage of AB 841 makes California one of the first states to pass legislation addressing the marketing of unhealthy foods to children in schools. This law will help ensure that students receive consistent messages from their schools about the importance of proper nutrition as well as reinforce parents’ efforts to help their children choose healthy foods. In addition, helping students make healthy food choices will result in healthier students who are better able to thrive academically.
ChangeLab Solutions has created a fact sheet on restricting unhealthy food marketing in schools as well as model policies with language for district-level policies and state-level statutes that can be tailored to the needs of particular jurisdictions and then adopted by school boards, state boards of education, or state legislatures. Contact us to learn more about how to regulate marketing of unhealthy foods to children in your schools!
September 8, 2017
The Free School Lunch for All initiative now makes lunch free for every public school student in New York City. “We know that students cannot learn or thrive in school if they are hungry all day,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Free school lunch will not only ensure that every kid in New York City has the fuel they need to succeed but also further our goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for all students.”
The initiative is an important step in removing the stigma associated with free lunch eligibility. Approximately 75% of New York City public school students are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches, yet some forgo the school lunch program out of fear of being labeled “poor” and bullied, preferring instead to go hungry. “A free school lunch isn’t really free if students must reveal their socioeconomic status to their classmates in order to eat,” said Councilmember Vanessa L. Gibson. “By making lunch truly free for 100% of our students in all of our public schools, we are removing any remaining stigma attached to this important program and making sure that for New York City Schools kids, hunger isn’t a barrier to academic success.”
Serving over 1.1 million students, the initiative is now the largest universal free lunch program in the nation. Other major cities leading the way include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas. ChangeLab applauds NYC DOE’s efforts toensure that all students are healthy and ready to learn. To learn more about creating healthier, thriving school environments, contact us or check out our resources.
March 15, 2017
Communities with many tobacco stores — and many stores near one another — often bear the brunt of tobacco use. Greater concentration and higher numbers of tobacco retailers, as well as retailers’ proximity to schools, have been associated with higher rates of youth smoking, higher rates of cigarettes smoked per day, and lower rates of quitting. Low-income areas and areas with many African American or Latino residents often have more tobacco stores — and more of them packed together. Not surprisingly, these communities suffer most from the negative health effects associated with tobacco use.
Reducing the density and number of tobacco retailers is a promising strategy for decreasing tobacco use, curbing exposure to tobacco marketing, and promoting health equity. We partnered with CounterTobacco.org to develop an easy-to-use infographic, How to Reduce Tobacco Retailer Density and Why, to illustrate 5 ways communities can reduce the number and density of local tobacco stores. Residents, advocates, and decisionmakers can use this infographic to learn why addressing tobacco retailer density is important and to help them pick the best strategies for their community.
Check out the infographic and our related resource, the Tobacco Retailer Licensing Playbook. We are also available to provide technical assistance to state health departments working on tobacco retailer density or other tobacco control strategies through tobacco retailer licensing. To stay current on our tobacco work, subscribe to our emails and contact us to learn more!
February 13, 2017