Proposed rule to phase out junk food ads in schools - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- First Lady Michelle Obama announced new rules for advertising junk food on school campuses, Tuesday.

The proposed rules call for schools to only advertise healthy foods on their scoreboards and around school.

"It will hurt us, we probably get about 20-30%, we use those funds to help finance our athletic programs," said Tommy Fowler, athletic director at Valley View High School. 

He said this new proposal could hurt their funding.

"We use the local companies, Pepsi products, we use KFC, Taco Bell products, that's what you find on some of our score boards," Fowler said. 

Promotion of sugary drinks and junk foods around campuses during the school day will be phased out under these rules. Obama says this change would ensure marketing is brought in line with health standards that already apply to school foods.

"I understand what she's trying to do and I'm all for our kids being healthy and eating the right food," Fowler said. 

He said the funds they get from advertisers help fund the equipment for the teams.

"That comes in the nature of uniforms, equipment, balls, bats and things like that so it would definitely have an effect on us," he said. 

The proposal also includes scoreboards at high school football or basketball games. A school, for example wouldn't be able to advertise Coca-Cola but could advertise Diet Coke or Dasani Water which is also owned by the Coca-Cola Company.

"I think they would have to come up with a different approach," Fowler said. "They are so great and I will say that, they do a great job at supporting the schools and I think they would come up with different products that are nutritional to benefit our kids so that's why I would look for."

Fowler said he thinks it could be a while before they start to feel the impact.

"Will it be an immediate effect? I think it will take a while to see where it goes," he said. 

The rules also states that scoreboard advertising wouldn't have to be immediately torn down, but the school would have to get a healthier message the next time it was replaced. 

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