Access to safe and appealing drinking water in child care centers and schools is a key strategy to build healthy habits that children will use for life to maintain a healthy body weight and to support overall health.
This study sought to identify and summarize state-level policies in twenty states for drinking water quality and access in public schools and licensed child care centers. This information was then used to generate individual state profiles and general policy recommendations to achieve increased drinking water consumption by children and to ensure drinking water is safe and appealing.
The guiding principles behind these policy recommendations are to ensure that safe, potable drinking water is made available at no cost to children throughout the day. The state profiles and policy recommendations can be used to assess current policies for drinking water access and quality and to determine which policy recommendations are relevant to the needs of a particular state’s schools and child care centers. The state profiles and policy recommendations also can be used as points of comparison and sources of ideas during the policymaking process.
Today, the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law, is releasing the issue brief Copycat Snacks in Schoolson the food industry’s recent push to market popular junk food brands in schools. As noted in today’s New York Times story by Michael Moss entitled “The Domino’s Smart Slice Goes To School,” PHAI has called upon the USDA to address branded junk food marketing in schools. Starting July 1, 2014, all foods sold outside of the National School Lunch Program, such as food from vending machines and school stores, will have to meet United States Department of Agriculture “Smart Snacks” nutrition criteria. Not wanting to lose an in-school marketing opportunity, major food companies like PepsiCo are producing reformulated versions of popular junk foods like Cheetos® and Doritos® that meet the Smart Snacks criteria, but use the same brand names, logos and spokescharacters as are used to market traditional junk food.
For example, PepsiCo produces and markets to school food service directors a product called Cheetos®Flamin’ Hot Puffs Reduced Fat. This product meets the USDA Smart Snack guidelines, but it is not widely available for retail purchase outside of schools. Instead, PepsiCo offers Cheetos®Flamin’ Hot Puffs to the broader public. As you can see below, the product packaging is almost identical.
Copycat snacks like reduced fat versions of Cheetos® products are not widely available for purchase outside of schools and are clearly designed to co-market traditional junk food to children in school. The issue brief describes copycat snacks, how they undermine nutrition education efforts, and what can be done to stop the sale and marketing of these products in schools.