NYC junk food ban efforts overstep school boundaries

By Trevor Wallace
October 22, 2009

Since the 1980s, weight gain in children has risen dramatically. This has opened the door to the question of the availability of junk food in schools. A number of points have been made, regarding whether or not schools have the right to make decisions on what students eat and the parent’s role in their child’s eating habits.

Yes, it is true that with junk food available for students at school that they may be more inclined to eat those types of food rather than the healthy alternative. But it is ultimately the parent’s responsibility to teach their child how to make the right choices, including when it comes to their diet.

Studies have shown that when junk food is available in schools, about 10 percent of the students’ average body mass index rises by one percent. But this isn’t to say that it is solely from the available junk food. It also has to do with the genetics inherited from parents and their own obesity.

Schools regulating the food they provide for children isn’t such a bad idea, however. If anything, it’s a step in the right direction toward educating children on healthy eating habits. If educated to make the healthy choice, students may be more susceptible to choosing a sweet piece of fruit rather than a cookie.

When a school only has the fruit, they’ll eat that fruit, if they eat at all, but might be more tempted to go to the convenience store after school and load up on all the sweets available there.

I think schools have the right to decide how they run their institutions and that includes what foods they serve. Some say, “Well schools don’t have cigarette machines on campus, so why vending machines with fatty foods?”

This is a very ignorant approach because of course cigarettes aren’t available on a campus. In any amount, they can be detrimental to one’s health.

But junk foods only in excess can cause problems. Fat and salt in moderation are necessary for a healthy diet.

As stated before, it is a parental obligation to serve their children healthy foods. If they don’t like the food offered at school, they should pack their children lunches.

Habits start at home, and if students are eating healthy at home, they are more likely to eat healthy at school.

Oppositely, if schools have a variety of foods, mostly healthy, then they might take these eating habits and introduce them to their home.

If the state and school districts begin putting regulations on students’ diets, it takes away certain responsibilities that belong to parents. It is the job of parents to raise their children, while schools must educate them along with the parents.

Schools should provide more courses that favor healthy diets, and also courses that will require students to be more physically active.

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Trevor Wallace

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