HILLSDALE – Fast food coupons used as prizes, candy sale fundraisers, vending machine exteriors — these are just a few examples of the kinds of junk food marketing that regularly takes place in U.S. schools, and such advertising is taking a toll on children’s health, say experts.
“Fortunately, significant progress has been made nationwide to provide nutritious meals and snacks in cafeterias, vending machines and school stores. However, continued marketing of junk food at school can undermine these improvements. Over time, those messages being marketed shape children’s food preferences, purchase requests, diets and overall health,” said Cheryl Anderson, PhD, nutrition chair, American Heart Association in a StatePoint Media press release.
At Hillsdale’s Davis Middle School, students are treated to some new tastes at an annual Health Fair. At the last event, Food Director Laura Call said she likes receiving feedback to possible introduction in the menus.
“Some of the vendors have items that could be used, while some things like pomegranate probably won’t get on the menu,” Call said. “But the idea is to get the students to try the new tastes and when they go to the store with their parents, they can point the item out say they tried it at the Health Fair.”
Chef John Ruemenapp, Harper Creek food service director, brought in some exotic fruit with samples of dragon fruit smoothies, pomegranate, black-berry lemonade and passion fruit parfaits. Chris Rakowski, district manager for Chartwells, was on hand to help introduce some spicy foods like buffalo cauliflower, pickled cabbage and pickled watermelon.
Call said the Health and Nutrition Fair is something the school has been doing for around 18 years.
“The event sparks students’ interests in fresh foods and inspires them to explore new things,” Call said. “It’s something they remember doing years after they have finished middle school.”
Hillsdale Daily News