As rates of childhood obesity have increased, so too have calls for action to help prevent and reduce it. School lunches and vending machines have been at the center of many of these efforts. Recent federal, state, and local legislation has aimed to require schools to eliminate so-called junk food and provide more healthy options for students. In 2004, as part of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, Congress stipulated that all school districts in the country form school wellness committees and develop policies and plans relating to nutrition and physical education. As a result of this mandate, many states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Oregon, banned or restricted the sale of junk food in school cafeterias and campus vending machines. Moreover, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, gives the USDA the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods sold in public schools, meaning the trend of restricting the sale of unhealthy foods in schools will likely continue in the future.
Many people agree with this approach, arguing that childhood obesity is a serious public health issue that threatens the wellness of children for years to come and demands a strong response. Others, however, disagree, arguing that banning certain foods in schools infringes on personal freedom and does not address the root problems of childhood obesity. In this Discussion, you will consider your own opinion on this issue in light of this week’s Learning Resources as well as your own experiences.Reflect on the following:
Do you think public schools should ban or restrict the sale of unhealthy foods in an effort to reduce childhood obesity? Or is this approach too extreme? Why?
What concerns or arguments might parents, students, and school staff voice if your opinion on this issue was implemented? How would you address these concerns
Post an explanation of your opinion on whether or not the sale of junk food should be restricted or banned in public schools. In addition, identify at least one concern that might arise if your view was implemented at a school, and explain how you might respond to this concern. Be sure to use the Learning Resources to support your thinking.