Ads Add Pounds, Not Programs
Today, I'm taking a break from the Deadly Spinach Outbreak to go back to school.
(For those who can't get enough of the E. coli hunt, check out today's installment.)
No, I wasn't inspired to switch subjects because of the seemingly random comment from reader Ein Lo Sechel, who wrote: "I live in 33135 Las Vegas, Nevada. Have you been here before?" in response to a previous post by Caroline titled "Say Goodbye to Sugary Soda in Schools."
Instead, what caught my attention was a paper by a crack team of researchers at Arizona State University who looked at in-school marketing of "foods of minimal nutritional value," which I hereby dub FMNV.
The ASU team estimated:
* Between 33.4 and 36.7 million of the 42.2 million students attending U.S. public schools are exposed to corporate advertising, with about 80 percent of that group exposed to ads from companies that sell FMNV.
* 82.6 percent of public schools have advertising by corporations.
* 73.4 percent didn't receive any income during the 2003-2004 academic school year as a result of activities with companies that sell FMNV.
* 12.6 percent of public schools received $2,500 or less from such activities.
The most surprising conclusion wasn't that advertising in schools is pervasive and dominated by corporations that sell FMNV, but that schools make so little money off of it.
The findings appear to call into question the major justification for schools accepting such advertising in the first place, which is to raise money for school programs.
Does the ASU team's findings jibe with what's going on in your kid's school? Fill me in.
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