In 2010, Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), the first piece of legislation in over 30 years to include substantial reforms to school nutrition guidelines. Yet, no research has explored how the public dialogue about these new guidelines has unfolded at the state and local levels.

To better understand how advocates, the food industry, policymakers and others have shaped discussions about school nutrition guidelines since the passage of HHFKA, Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Public Health Advocacy Institute have been examining news coverage and legislative documents from ten states around the country. With support from the Healthy Eating Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we have explored how school food guidelines are framed, whose voices are included in news coverage, how the conversation differs among states, and how arguments and framing differ between news coverage and legislative and regulatory testimony and comments.

This Web Forum will include a summary of our findings, as well as a discussion of how they might inform future communications efforts around healthy school food environments at the state and local level. This one-hour event will be particularly valuable for professionals in education and public health working on creating healthy school food environments, particularly those who are interested in learning about how school food nutrition is currently being discussed, and lessons learned for future communications efforts.


Mark Gottlieb, JD

Executive Director

The Public Health Advocacy Institute

Boston, MA

Mark Gottlieb joined the staff of the Public Health Advocacy Institute in 1993 after graduating from Northeastern University School of Law. His efforts have focused on researching tobacco litigation as a public health strategy, reducing the harm caused by secondhand tobacco smoke through a variety of legal and policy approaches,…

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Laura Nixon, MPH

Media Researcher

Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley, CA

Laura Nixon is a Media Researcher at Berkeley Media Studies Group, where she analyzes media coverage of public health issues and industry marketing practices. Her research has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Critical Public Health, Current Obesity Reports, and the Journal of the California Dental Association. She…

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Pamela Mejia, MS, MPH

Senior Media Researcher

Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley, CA

Pamela Mejia is a Senior Media Researcher at Berkeley Media Studies Group, leads qualitative and quantitative analyses of how the media portrays public health and social justice issues, including sexual and family violence, teen dating violence, childhood trauma, community violence prevention, food marketing to children, sugary drink regulation, and tobacco…

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Presentation Slides

  • Examining the Public Debate on School Food Nutrition Guidelines: Findings and lessons learned from an analysis of news coverage and legislative debates

  • Mejia, Nixon & Gottlieb | School food in the news: Preliminary findings, implications and next steps