Commercial Alert's
Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda for States, Municipalities and School Boards

American children are suffering from an epidemic of obesity. In spite of this, purveyors of junk food increasingly are able to use public schools as a platform for their marketing campaigns. In effect, the junk food lobby has latched onto the compulsory school laws as a way to corral a captive audience of impressionable children.

Parents should guide the eating habits of their kids. Corporations have no business wedging into that relationship. Schools should support parents in this.

We are what we eat, as the old saying goes; and in this the schools play an important part, for good or ill. Schools should encourage healthful eating habits and exercise. They should not become marketing zones and shopping centers in which junk food manufacturers get open access to impressionable children.


Schools should help parents promote good nutrition, rather than support junk food companies that promote products high in added sugar and fat.

1. States, municipalities and school boards should prohibit the marketing of junk food on school property.

* Prohibit contracts that obligate children to watch or listen to ads for junk food on school property. An example is Channel One, an in-school TV marketing program.
* Prohibit display of visual advertisements for junk food in school, such as billboards, signs, posters, and logo placements.
* Prohibit the use of corporate-sponsored curricula featuring or promoting junk food products.
* Prohibit exclusive marketing ("pouring rights") contracts between soda beverage companies and school districts, school food service agencies and school groups.

Schools should make healthful food available to children.

2. States, municipalities and school boards should ban the sale or distribution of junk food on school property.

* Prohibit sale of junk food on school property, including, but not limited to, a la carte, before-school or after-school programs, concession stands or vending machines.
* Prohibit the distribution of junk food as a reward or prize for good behavior or exemplary performance.
* Prohibit distribution of free samples of junk food on school property.
* Amend Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices statutes and ordinances to prohibit marketing of junk food to children on school property.

Schools should be rewarded for exceeding federal nutrition standards.

3. States, municipalities and school boards should provide financial rewards to school districts, schools and food service agencies that exceed federal nutrition guidelines and obey restrictions on the sale of junk food in schools.

* School districts and school food service agencies should exceed the nutritional standards of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, especially by providing plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fat-free dairy products, local and organic products, but no foods with hydrogenated vegetable shortening, and few or no fried foods.
* School districts and school food service agencies must strictly comply with the federal competitive foods rule.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined junk food as "foods which provide calories primarily through fats or added sugars and have minimal amounts of vitamins and minerals."

Endorsers - Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda (as of April 1, 2003)

American College of Preventive Medicine
Center for a New American Dream
Center for Food and Justice
Center for Media Education
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Citizens Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Connecticut Public Health Association
Commercial Alert
Dads and Daughters
Eagle Forum
Green Party of the United States
Maryland Public Health Association
Massachusetts Public Health Association
Michigan Public Health Association
New Mexico Media Literacy Project
New Mexico Public Health Association
Obligation, Inc.
Organic Consumers Association
Science and Environmental Health Network
South End Community Health Center, Boston, MA
Washington State Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group
Yale Prevention Research Center

Kären Ahern, Director, Coalition for Environmentally Safe Schools
Enola G. Aird, Director, The Motherhood Project, Institute for American Values
Peter Barnes, co-founder, Working Assets
Brian Burt, Professor, Department of Epidemiology; Director, Program in Dental Public Health; Professor, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan
Nancy Carlsson-Paige, EdD, Professor of Child Development, Lesley University
Jason Catlett, President, Junkbusters Corporation
Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, FACP, Director, Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center; Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Greg Critser, author, Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
Catherine Cubbin, PhD, Research Associate, Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine; Assistant Research Scientist,
Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical Institute, University of Texas
Nancy M. DiMarco, PhD, RD, LD, Professor, Nutrition and Food Sciences, Nutrition Coordinator, Institute for Women's Health, Texas Woman's University
Cara B. Ebbeling, PhD, Research Associate, Children's Hospital, Boston; Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Leon Eisenberg, MD Professor of Social Medicine and Psychiatry Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
Roy F. Fox, Professor and Chair, Department of Learning, Teaching, & Curriculum, University of Missouri-Columbia; author, Harvesting Minds and MediaSpeak
Erica Frank, MD, MPH, Vice Chair and Associate Professor; Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Program, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine; President, Atlanta Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility
Gilbert Fuld, MD, pediatrician, Past President, New Hampshire Pediatric Society, former member, Board of Directors, American Academy of Pediatrics
Linda C. Fuller, Co-founder, Habitat for Humanity International
Christopher D. Gardner, PhD, Assistant Professor, Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine
Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington
Michael I. Goran, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California; Associate Director, USC Institute for Prevention Research
Gerald Hass, MD, FAAP, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Physician in Chief, South End Community Health Center, Boston, MA
Timothy K. Kasser, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Knox College
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, Associate Clinical Professor of Public Health & Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine; Director, Yale Prevention Research Center
Michael Kieschnick, President, Working Assets
Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy Me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think And Feel
Rebecca T. Kirkland, MD, MPH, Chief, Academic General Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Director, Atherosclerosis Research, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute; Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
Velma LaPoint, Associate Professor of Child Development, School of Education, Howard University
Frances Moore Lappe, author, Diet for a Small Planet, co-author, Hope's Edge
Diane Levin, Professor of Education, Wheelock College, author, Remote Control Childhood
Jane Levine, co-founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
Susan Linn, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Associate Director, Media Center Judge Baker Children's Center
Robert McChesney, Research Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington School of Public Health
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Alex Molnar, Professor of Education Policy, Director, Education Policy Studies Laboratory, Arizona State University
Diane Morrison, Research Professor, School of Social Work, University of Washington
Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University; author, Food Politics and Safe Food
Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Mark A. Pereira, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital, Division of Endocrinology
Harold Pollack, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker Children's Center
Raffi, children's troubadour, author, founder of Child Honoring
Eric Rimm, ScD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
Vicki Robin, co-author, Your Money or Your Life
Ellen Ruppel Shell, Associate Professor and Co-director, Knight Center for Science and Medical Journalism, Boston University; author, The Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin
Inger Stole, Assistant Professor, Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mary Story, PhD, RD, Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Associate Dean of Student Affairs School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Victor Strasburger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine; co-author, Children, Adolescents, & the Media
Michael Traub, ND, President, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
V. Susan Villani, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Medical School
Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, Chair, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
Marilyn A. Winkleby, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine

Marsha Burger, co-founder, Sunergia Soyfoods, Charlottesville, VA
Gary Flanagan, President, Shelton's Poultry Inc., Pomona, CA
Michael Girkout, President, Alvarado Street Bakery, Rohnert Park, CA
Honest Tea
Rona N. James, Natural Gourmet, Inc., Austin, TX
Dal LaMagna, CEO and Founder, Tweezerman Corporation, Glen Cove, NY
Julie Mayfield, owner, NatJulie Great Products, Lacey, WA
Lila Murray, co-owner, White Mountain Foods
Gregor Robertson, President, Happy Planet Foods
Stonyfield Farms
TerrEssentials, Middletown, MD
Tumaro's Gourmet Tortillas and Snacks, Los Angeles, CA
Visionary Health Concepts Inc.


For more information about the Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda, contact Commercial Alert at (503) 235-8012 or <> or visit <>