School fundraiser restrictions
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 (Rated)
Reduced access to unhealthy foods
Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes
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 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.
Link to original source (journal subscription may be required for access)); 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 2010, CT SDE-Healthy fundraising 2009). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.
Impact on Disparities
No impact on disparities likely
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).
KSDE-Fundraising ideas - Child Nutrition & Wellness. Fundraising ideas for schools. Topeka: Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).
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.
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.
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.
Citations - Evidence
* Journal subscription may be required for access.
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.
CDC-School health - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six approaches to improving student nutrition.
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.
CT SDE-Healthy fundraising 2009 - Connecticut State Department of Education (CT SDE). Healthy fundraising: Promoting a healthy school environment. 2009.
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.
Citations - Implementation Examples
* Journal subscription may be required for access.
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.
Date Last Updated
- Scientifically Supported: Strategies with this rating are most likely to make a difference. These strategies have been tested in many robust studies with consistently positive results.
- Some Evidence: Strategies with this rating are likely to work, but further research is needed to confirm effects. These strategies have been tested more than once and results trend positive overall.
- Expert Opinion: Strategies with this rating are recommended by credible, impartial experts but have limited research documenting effects; further research, often with stronger designs, is needed to confirm effects.
- Insufficient Evidence: Strategies with this rating have limited research documenting effects. These strategies need further research, often with stronger designs, to confirm effects.
- Mixed Evidence: Strategies with this rating have been tested more than once and results are inconsistent or trend negative; further research is needed to confirm effects.
- Evidence of Ineffectiveness: Strategies with this rating are not good investments. These strategies have been tested in many robust studies with consistently negative and sometimes harmful results.