George Lucas Educational Foundation

A Federal Effort to Push Junk Food Out of Schools (New York Times)

A Federal Effort to Push Junk Food Out of Schools (New York Times)

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  • Share "WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years. "Junk food has long been banned from official school breakfast and lunch programs, but many schools offer fatty foods and sweets outside of these programs or have vending machines with sodas and candy, with the money often used to finance sports or other extracurricular programs. The legislation would require that all school offerings comply with strict new nutritional guidelines."

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Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Senior Editor at Large

Here's another clip from this article:

"But [school principal] Mr. Kotulka responded that it was parents' responsibility to forbid children at risk of obesity to buy candy."

I get that parents need to instill values, but shouldn't the school at least try to support those values? If they don't want to support them, or don't agree that they're values, fine. But I don't think it's a fair argument to make parents responsible if you're going to parade candy around in front of the kids without any parental supervision. Grr.

Anne Richards's picture

Even though parent can't watch their child 24/7 it important that they teach their kids the right habits. Schools should also at least try to reduce the amout of sweets and encourage healthy nutrition in the lunchroom. This is the way to reduce childhood obesity.

Laurie Schoeman's picture
Laurie Schoeman
Director of NY Sun Works


I think you are right on the money: Yes, parents should steer their children towards making the healthy choices...but what ARE the healthy choices available to schoolkids?

In most school cafeterias, the healthy choices are not very appetizing. We need to increase the amount of healthy choices available, for variety's sake! Yes, maybe a few treats can remain, but the options should reflect the FDA's food pyramid. Treats are in a very tiny category at the top! There should therefore be similar proportions in our dining halls.

I know one school that stopped carrying soda and switched to fruit juice vending machines. Now, kids will have to make the effort to bring their soda with them to school if they want it. Surprise, surprise, kids haven't really complained! It is now much easier to make a healthy choice.

My organization, New York Sun Works, is trying to bring more healthy foods into cafeterias by having students actually grow it themselves! We are building hydroponic rooftop greenhouse classrooms for schools in NYC, and in this way schoolchildren can learn about environmental topics while growing their own food. Hopefully, in the future it will be the norm for schools to grow their own produce.

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