TABLE 7-1 Schools That Allow Food Promotion or Advertising

 

Total Schools (%)

Soft drink contracts:

Have contract with company to sell soft drinks

Elementary schools:

38.2

Middle/junior high schools:

50.4

Senior high schools:

71.9

Of schools with soft drink contracts:

 

 

Receive a specific percentage of soft drink sale receipts

 

91.7

Receive sales incentives from companya

Elementary schools:

24.0

 

Middle/junior high schools:

40.9

 

Senior high schools:

56.7

Allow advertising by the company in the school building

 

37.6

Allow advertising by the company on school grounds

 

27.7

Allow advertising by the company on school buses

 

2.2

Promotion of candy, meals from fast food restaurants, and soft drinks:

Allow promotion of these products through coupons

23.3

Allow promotion of these products through sponsorship of school events

14.3

Allow promotion of these products through school publications

7.7

Prohibit or discourage faculty and staff from using these items as rewards

24.8

aSchools receive incentives such as cash awards or donations of equipment or supplies once receipts reach specified amounts.

SOURCE: Wechsler et al., 2001.

As discussed in Chapter 5, a number of studies have shown that advertising influences children’s food and beverage choices. An extensive literature review by Hastings and colleagues (2003) concluded that food advertisements trigger food purchase requests by children to parents; have effects on children’s product and brand preferences; and have an effect on consumption behavior. Furthermore, a recent analysis of the cognitive developmental literature (Wilcox et al., 2004) found that young children (generally under the age of 7 to 8 years) do not generally understand that difference between information and advertising.

Because public schools are institutions supported by taxpayer dollars, there are issues regarding whether it is appropriate for public schools to be a site for corporate or commercial advertising and marketing of products to children. Further, schools act in place of parents and advertising in school can be viewed as circumventing parental control over the types of advertis-



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