AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A professor at the University of New England has released a study showing Maine high schools are not doing a good job when it comes to banning advertisements of junk food and drinks on campus.
The study found that 85 percent of the schools surveyed violated a state law prohibiting this kind of advertising. Associate Professor Michele Polacsek, the author of this study, said she wanted to look at whether Maine schools are complying with a 2007 state law banning ads for foods of minimum nutritional value because study after study show that those ads to contribute to an obesity problem among young people.
The law defines foods of minimum nutritional value as: Soda, water ices, chewing gum, candy, and any food that contains less than 5 percent of the Reference Daily Intake per 100 calories of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, calcium and iron.
Polacsek would not reveal the schools that were surveyed. She said her team looked 20 Maine high schools all around the state. She says not only did 85 percent of schools violate the law, but those who did had an average of 12 posters, signs, or vending machines that didn't comply.
Polacsek said, "Many of the school administrators that we spoke with were surprised to see how much marketing there was in their schools. Often times when you're in an environment every day, you don't notice the marketing. It's quite insidious."
Polacsek said most school officials do want to get that marketing out of their schools, but it can be difficult for them to find the resources to replace scoreboards or vending machines, for instance. She said UNE is hoping to get some grant money to help schools find ways to comply with the state law.
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