Key Messages

Tips for Effective Messaging around Junk Food Marketing in Schools

  • Make the connections between targeted advertising (companies aggressively marketing to certain populations) and its effect on children’s junk food choices, ultimately causing health problems.
  • Stress that schools are a place of learning, not a place for promoting junk food.
  • Emphasize that there are healthy ways to fundraise that are also profitable.
  • Provide specific examples whenever possible; most parents are unaware of the marketing happening in their school until shown a clear example.
  • Provide examples of in-school marketing including fast food coupons as incentives for reading or vending machines wrapped in advertisements for soda.

Key Messages

  • Junk food is no longer sold in schools and that is good for kids. But why are we still letting companies advertise these items? If it can’t be sold in school, then it shouldn’t be promoted in school.
  •  Schools are places of learning and should be safe havens where students go to prepare for the future. Kids spend most of their time in schools and they should not be a place for promoting junk food.
  • Parents work hard to provide healthy food at home and they need those efforts to be reinforced when their kids are at school.
  • Young kids can’t differentiate between advertising messages and other messages they receive about health and nutrition while they are at school. Schools need to be places where kids receive a consistent set of messages about healthy eating.
  • Companies that sell junk food spend millions of dollars marketing to kids because they know it works. Kids ask for things that are advertised to them. And, we see the outcome – children with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Many schools put time and resources into teaching kids about nutrition. School meals and snacks are getting healthier, and some schools have gardens where kids help grow fruits and vegetables. When junk food is marketed all over school grounds, it undermines all this positive work and interferes with good health and academic success.
  • Many school districts are finding ways to fundraise that are healthy and profitable. They are selling fruit, jewelry, holiday items, discount cards and toys, hosting walk-a-thons, and recycling printer cartridges. Schools don’t have to market junk food to make ends meet.

Language to Emphasize/Language to Avoid

Messages that resonate best comprise clear, simple, everyday, jargon-free language and communicate shared values and emotion. Below you’ll find a list of words/phrases to use when speaking about Junk Food Marketing policies to effectively engage your audience in place of language that is not as easily understood or impactful.

Use This Language Instead of This Language
Junk Food Marketing Unhealthy food and beverage marketing
Help kids grow up at a healthy weight Prevent childhood obesity
Eating healthy and being physically active helps prevent diabetes and heart disease Eating healthy and being physically active helps prevent childhood obesity


Download Key Messages