Does This School Make Me Look Fat?Posted: January 27, 2012
It appears that selling “competitive” foods–often called junk foods–in schools has little market-expanding effect, at least if we use childhood obesity as a measure. The authors of this study look to have used pretty robust methods and found no link between attending a middle school where such marketed foods are sold and obesity. So firms’ efforts to penetrate these schools probably represent zero-sum market-share battles among brands, not a means of stimulating overall long-term consumption of these products.
Bonus question: If food firms make competitive bids to schools in order to get exclusive access (and I have no idea whether that is true–I’m analogizing from the many college campus exclusive soft-drink deals), then how would they feel about regulations banning them from school premises? Hint: Think about the impact of taking cigarette advertising off of TV on cigarette firm profits.