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why junk food should be banned from schools

Should states ban junk food in schools? In response to rising obesity rates nationally, 16 states have recently adopted school nutrition policies
YES America is facing a crisis because of our eating habits. Sixty million adults (20 percent of the population) are obese. Nearly 300,000 people die each year from complications associated with being obese or overweight. Poor eating habits developed at an early age lead to a lifetime of real health consequences. School is where children spend most of their time, and it is where we lay the foundation for healthy habits. That s why New Jersey is the first state to adopt a comprehensive school nutrition policy that bans candy, soda, and other junk food. If you go to school in New Jersey, your vending machines and school stores, along with the a la carte lines in your cafeterias, will no longer be able to sell snacks that are high in fat and loaded with sugar. Items that list sugar as the first ingredient will be eliminated and snacks will contain no more than eight grams of total fat and not more than two grams of saturated fat. Soda and junk food will be replaced with more-nutritious alternatives. You will still have choices, but instead of candy or chips, you may have to decide between an apple or carrot sticks. It has always been the role of government to help solve problems, including and especially health crises. Obesity is a health epidemic across our country, and we have a responsibility as a government and a society to do all we can to promote good nutrition and healthy eating so we can reverse this alarming trend.

New Jersey is proud to be the first in the nation to adopt a statewide school junk-food ban, and we hope other states follow our lead. Richard J. Codey NO It may make sense for a school board to ban junk foods in some cases, but there are several issues that should be considered. To begin with, there is the problem of defining junk food. Are we talking about potato chips, soda, and pastries? What about fried chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, and pizza foods many school cafeterias serve? Second, the American education system is designed to give communities control over their schools through local school boards. This principle of local control lies at the root of our democracy. We believe that locally elected school board members are in the best position to make policy decisions that reflect the opinions and needs of their individual communities. Any decisions about what is sold in school vending machines should be determined at this level. Third, an important part of education is learning to make good choices. An across-the-board junk-food ban does not teach young people how to make healthy choices; it simply removes some of their options. Fourth, improving what we teach about nutrition and requiring more physical activity are better ways to approach obesity than imposing statewide junk-food bans.

Let me be clear: We believe that childhood obesity is a very serious issue, and principals, teachers, parents, students, and school boards should be doing their part to address this situation. But banning junk food without other strategies and local decision-making is a superficial remedy that dilutes personal and local responsibilities. John Dively, Executive Director, [Photograph: / Junk food has gotten a lot of press recently. The USDA just a ban on selling junk foods in schools, including from cafeterias and vending machines. The ban was a provision of the politically popular 2010, which also included improved nutritional standards for school lunches and breakfasts. The ban of junk food sales through school vending machines will affect kids in the coming 2013-14 school year. Instead of selling candy bars and sodas, schools will ideally vend healthier snacks like granola bars, juices, and whole grain products. The idea is that kids will develop healthier eating habits in school and maintain those habits for a lifetimeвand maybe even pass on healthier eating patterns to their parents. But some opponents question whether this approach is effective, or if it will just result in lost revenue for the schools. This announcement was well-timed with another high-profile article from Atlantic author David H. Freedman, who the potential for junk food to actually end obesity.

He argues that fast food companies are already noticing that customers want healthier options, and are adding lower-calorie versions of their dishes to menus across the country. He blasts the nation's " " for blindly ascribing to a belief that locally-sourced vegetables can turn around the nation's obesity crisis. Instead of latching onto produce and whole grains as the only sustainable, healthy dietary choice, Freedman asks if moderately healthier junk food could help the nation collectively lose weight without spending a premium for more "wholesome" foods. The school junk food ban, and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act as a whole, emerged partially as a result of Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood obesity. This campaign is informed by the writings of Michael Pollan and other sustainable food advocates. But Freedman has a point when he writes that the lifestyle promoted by the "Pollanites" is often only accessible to families or individuals with enough income to afford expensive food. So where does this leave us? Could healthier junk food or fast food provide an easy way to address the nation's rising obesity rates? About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her other work can be found at her.

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