Examining the public debate on school food nutrition guidelines: Findings and lessons learned from an analysis of news coverage and legislative debates


Lori Dorfman


federal, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, legislation, news media analysis, news media framing, opinion, public health, states


Berkeley Media Studies Group

Year Published:


Policy Summary

This paper examines state and local-level debates about standards that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) created for the National School Lunch Program in 2010. Dorfman examined regulatory testimony and newsarticles published in 11 states, assessing the content, quantity, people featured, and arguments in favor or against the new federal legislation. Pro-HHFKA articles tend to be straight news stories, not opinion pieces, suggesting that there is an opportunity for public health advocates to use the opinion pages to shape the narrative around legislation.

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