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Selling out our children's health: How to untangle sound policy from corporate influence

Jacqueline Domac, Chair, Health Dept, Venice High School, Policy Consultant, CA Center for Public Health Advocacy, 13000 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066, 310/713-7070, love@alum.calberkeley.org

A few years ago, a student of mine simply asked if we could sell pure fruit juice in the vending machines. Having over twenty-two vending machines, I was surprised that we didn’t already sell some. I put the request in our financial manager’s mailbox, and received a response the next day. It read, “No. Selling this juice would conflict with our exclusive soda contract”. As a high school health teacher, I was shocked. Did soda companies really have more influence over my students’ health than I did? I began to investigate the complexities of this issue. The more I learned, the more I exposed, and slowly, with the help of community support and student activism, we were able to significantly change the school food environment for the second largest district in the nation. The passage of the LAUSD Healthy Beverage Resolution, and the LAUSD Obesity Prevention Motion, are just two of the many recent groundbreaking policy changes that address the current national obesity epidemic. Through the trials and tribulations of policy passage in the Los Angeles Unified School District, this session explores the deep corporate influence over our students’ health on campuses nationwide. From the tactics of soda and fast food companies, to the politics of the National School Lunch Program, one will find there is much need for improvement. This session provides simple, yet proven, steps to assist in the passage and implementation of sound school nutrition policy reform.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participants in this session will be able to

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Children's Health

Related Web page: www.nojunkfood.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Influencing Policy for Nutrition and Physical Activity Issues

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA