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School fundraiser restrictions

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise
Decision Makers: Educators Local Government State Government Federal Government
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Local schools or governments can prohibit the sale of unhealthy foods such as sugar sweetened beverages, candy, and other non-nutritious snacks at school fundraisers. Such a policy can be enacted on its own or included as a component of a school district nutrition policy or government mandate.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced access to unhealthy foods
Improved health outcomes

Evidence of Effectiveness

Prohibiting the sale of unhealthy foods at school fundraisers is a suggested strategy to decrease access to such foods and support student health (CDC-School health). In 2013, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a rule to limit the number of non-nutritious food sales allowed annually during the school day (Federal register-NSLP).

The need to raise funds is often cited as a barrier to implementing such a policy (Longley 2009); however, many alternative strategies such as a-thons (e.g., walk-a-thons, jog-a-thons, dance-a-thons, read-a-thons, etc.), auctions, raffles, events (e.g., talent shows, dances, recycling drives, etc.), healthy food sales, or school spirit item sales can raise funds (NYC Health-Healthy fundraisers 2010CT SDE-Healthy fundraising 2009). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.


United States

Many schools across the country are trying alternatives to selling unhealthy foods at fundraisers; the Center for Science in the Public Interest has collected examples of healthy food fundraisers in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas (CSPI-Success stories). 

Implementation Resources

CSPI-Healthy fundraisers - Johanson J, Wootan MG. Sweet deals: School fundraising can be healthy and profitable. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI); 2007. Accessed on December 10, 2015
KSDE-Fundraising ideas - Child Nutrition & Wellness. Fundraising ideas for schools. Topeka: Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Accessed on March 1, 2016
Litchfield-Non-food alternatives - Litchfield R, Nelson D, Lenahan J. Non-food alternatives for school rewards and fundraising. Ames: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; 2009. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Winslow-Gibbons-Healthy alternatives 2008 - Winslow-Gibbons H. Healthy alternatives for school celebrations, rewards, fundraisers and snacks. Kansas City: Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), KC Healthy Kids; 2008. Accessed on March 3, 2016

Citations - Evidence

CDC-School health - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six approaches to improving student nutrition. Accessed on November 30, 2015
CT SDE-Healthy fundraising 2009 - Connecticut State Department of Education (CT SDE). Healthy fundraising: Promoting a healthy school environment. 2009. Accessed on November 19, 2015
Federal register-NSLP - Federal Register. National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP): Nutrition standards for all foods sold in school as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Accessed on February 4, 2016
Longley 2009* - Longley CH, Sneed J. Effects of federal legislation on wellness policy formation in school districts in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109(1):95-101. Accessed on March 14, 2016
NYC Health-Healthy fundraisers 2010 - East & Central Harlem District Public Health Office (NYC Health), Strategic Alliance for Health (SAFH). Yes, you can! A fresh look at healthy fundraisers for schools. 2010. Accessed on November 19, 2015

Citations - Implementation

CSPI-Success stories - Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Healthy school fundraising success stories. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI); 2012. Accessed on December 15, 2015

Page Last Updated

January 15, 2014

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