Published: March 2016

ID #: 1090

Publisher: Healthy Eating Research and Bridging the Gap

Authors: Turner L, Chriqui JF, Terry-McElrath Y

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This brief reviews the evidence on food-related fundraising in schools and changes to the school food environment over the past decade, providing new data from the Bridging the Gap (BTG) research program’s 2013-14 school year national survey data. In-school fundraisers can be problematic nutritionally because, historically, unhealthy foods such as baked goods, candies, and sugary drinks have often been sold as part of these fundraising events. Food-related fundraising is common and has been in existence for many years, though the past decade has brought a variety of changes to the school food landscape. For example, the Smart Snacks school nutrition standards, which went into effect July 2014, define the portions and types of foods and beverages that can be sold outside of school meals on school campuses during the school day. However, these standards also allow states to exempt some fundraisers at which unhealthy foods and beverages may be sold, which has resulted in a patchwork of fundraiser policies and practices nationwide. The brief also describes potential strategies that may offer opportunities for schools to successfully raise funds without adversely impacting student health.

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