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Proposal requires schools to remove unhealthy ads

Students and staff at Dothan High School share their reaction to the proposal.
Students wait in line for a healthy lunch at Dothan High School on February 25, 2014.
Students wait in line for a healthy lunch at Dothan High School on February 25, 2014.
Dothan High School Athletic Director Kelvis White discusses the school advertisement proposal and how it could impact school athletic programs.
Dothan High School Athletic Director Kelvis White discusses the school advertisement proposal and how it could impact school athletic programs.
Tammie Wright, the Dothan High School cafeteria manager, says while schools may do their part to promote healthy eating, there is no way to control what kids eat outside of the cafeteria.
Tammie Wright, the Dothan High School cafeteria manager, says while schools may do their part to promote healthy eating, there is no way to control what kids eat outside of the cafeteria.

At Dothan High School, there are no ads or posters hanging in the hallways, and no Coke or Pepsi vending machines.

 

But head into the gym and some playing fields in the area, and you'll see a different picture: soda and restaurant ads on scoreboards.

 

“We depend on their advertising to help, you know, to help with our scoreboards and our budget, like with buying programs ads and things like that,” said Athletic Director Kelvis White.

 

The government proposal to remove unhealthy food and drink ads is intended to promote healthy lifestyles for kids and teens.  But when you ask their opinion, most say the food changes are hard enough to swallow, and enough is enough.

 

"We just need to come to a point where we leave it where it's at, I know we need to improve at all times,” Dothan High School student Christopher Graham said.

 

"With the government trying to regulate things like that, it is stepping, in a sense, too far," said Anthony Prymula, another Dothan student.

 

Some students say school programs have lost enough funding, and schools should be allowed to make money from any kind of food or beverage ads.  They also say making better choices is more effective than focusing on removing ads.

 

"While there are students that are choosing that lifestyle of unhealthy, it is their choice, and it can be consumed, but with moderation,” Prymula said.

 

"We can only do so much in the cafeteria, and we're doing our part on that.  But as far as the restaurants and the fast foods, we can't control that,” said Cafeteria Manager Tammie Wright.

 

But if the food and beverage companies are willing to change their ads to healthy ones, staff members say it could be a win-win situation.

 

"I think those funds are needed in our athletic program, but at the same time, we can still make some changes and still make it work," White said.

 

Reports show beverage ads make up more than 93% of all school marketing.  And many companies have already changed their ads to promote healthier items.

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