Examining the public debate around school food guidelines

In 2010, Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), the first piece of legislation in over 30 years to include substantial reforms to school nutrition guidelines. Yet, no research has explored how the public dialogue about these new guidelines has unfolded at the state and local levels.

To better understand how advocates, the food industry, policymakers and others have shaped discussions about school nutrition guidelines since the passage of HHFKA, BMSG and the Public Health Advocacy Institute examined news coverage and legislative documents from several states. With support from the Healthy Eating Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we explored how school food guidelines are framed, whose voices are included in news coverage, how the conversation differs among states, and how, if at all, arguments and framing differ between news coverage and legislative and regulatory testimony and comments.

Our findings, which we shared in an Oct. 27, 2016 webinar, will inform future work to implement and sustain healthy school food environments.

Related resources

Webinar: Examining the public debate on school food nutrition guidelines: Findings and lessons learned from an analysis of news coverage and legislative debates

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