Advocacy / Food as Reward / School / Soda

School Year Ends with ER and Soda Tabs

Pop Tabs  Today is the last day of the school year for Fayette County Public Schools. When it started off, I was hopeful that there would finally be progress in the district implementing a stronger wellness policy. Here’s what I wrote in August:

I was glad to read that Dr. Shelton described his first year as Fayette County Superintendent as a “year of observation and learning”, the second was a “year of planning” and the year to come “will be a year of action and implementation.” One of the things I hope you will take action on is strengthening the district wellness policy to include not using food as a reward, healthier celebrations, healthier fundraising, and physical activity.

Yet here we are at the end of another school year with the exact same policy.  The lack of action and implementation really hit me recently as I was standing in line at the grocery store ahead of another mother. She was buying cases of soda because her child needed the tabs for extra credit for school.   Is it any wonder we have skyrocketing rates of diabetes in kids when this is how schools teach them to earn extra credit?  Is it any wonder Kentucky is at the bottom of most national health rankings when schools neglect to teach the science between soda and diet-related disease? Instead, they are taught that soda tabs are extra credit which makes them even more vulnerable to the kind of marketing I saw at the gas pump yesterday.


Sugary drinks are also linked to increased blood pressure and our superintendent had to go to the emergency room this week because of high blood pressure.  Dr. Shelton said in a statement, “High blood pressure runs in my family and I need to pay close attention to my health.”

I hope this will be a wake-up call that it’s time to not only pay close attention to his personal health but the health of all students under his care.  One of the most important steps is to not let another school year start without a stronger district wellness policy.  Here’s how you can help make that happen:

Let your school board member know you support stronger school wellness policy district-wide.

Find out what School District you are in here.

Find your School Board Member here.

Sample letter of support

Dr. Shelton left the ER with “instructions to do more of the things we know are good for us.” I hope his health improves soon and he takes action to help students follow those instructions too.

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