Earth Day Network Spearheads Coalition to Support D.C. City Council

Funding of Healthy Schools Act

 Petition Aimed at Fighting Obesity Through Nutritious School Meals and Standards


WASHINGTON, D.C.,May 12, 2010 — Earth Day Network and Campaign for Healthy Kids, a health advocacy group, have formed a coalition, to call for funding of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act. Although D.C. City Council voted unanimously to pass the act on May 4, financial support is threatened by American Beverage Association (ABA) lobbyists, backed by soda manufacturers, who oppose the means to fund this bill. Financial backing for the program would come from a penny-per-ounce levy on sugar-sweetened beverages aimed at preventing obesity while supporting better nutrition and sustainability standards for D.C. public schools.

The Campaign for Healthy Kids commissioned a poll that found that 71 percent of likely D.C. voters would support taxation equal to one cent per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages if the funding was dedicated to support programs that help fight childhood obesity. The poll also found that 95 percent of D.C. voters express concern about rates of obesity among children in Washington, D.C.

Earth Day Network, whose Education Department improves environmental and healthy sustainable school standards year-round, formed this coalition to petition for funding of the ground-breaking legislation.

“The District of Columbia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the nation, and this landmark act could be a watershed moment to improve the health, nutrition and sustainability standards for not only D.C. schools, but for schools nationwide,” said Sean S. Miller, Director of Education at Earth Day Network. “We spearheaded this coalition and chartered a petition to show the magnitude of community support for the D.C. Healthy Schools Act.”

Working with partners like the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Capital Area Food Bank, the coalition launched SupportHealthySchools.org to inform D.C. residents about the health and economic benefits of the Act and generate petition signatures in support of funding. According to the D.C. Department of Health, 43 percent of D.C. public school students are overweight or obese, but D.C. is poised to become a national leader in reversing the trend through this legislation. By supporting a local food economy, the Healthy Schools Act will create jobs and bring added revenue to local businesses.

On May 19, the coalition will deliver all signatures to D.C. Councilmember, Mary M. Cheh, who authored the funding proposal. The Council will vote on the final measure on May 26.

“The District faces an enormous obesity epidemic. We need a comprehensive approach to tackle obesity, and my penny-per-ounce soda excise proposal is a three-for-one solution to that problem,” said Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3). “It provides needed revenue to fight obesity (including the Healthy Schools Act), it will itself reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and it will provide much-needed aid to local retailers to provide healthier food options.”

About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network was founded on the premise that all people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography, have a moral right to a healthy, sustainable environment. Our mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable environment. We pursue our mission through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer activism campaigns.

Earth Day Network campaign and programs are predicated on the belief that an educated, energized population will take action to secure a healthy future for itself and its children. The organization has a global reach with a network of more than 21,000 partners and organizations in 190 countries. Earth Day Network is a 501(c)3 organization located in Washington, D.C.




Jennifer Resick

202-518-0044, ext. 21

[email protected]