Dear Future President,
Schools today have been in a long debate over whether or not to ban junk food. Schools should not ban junk food. Instead, they should be improving what to teach about nutrition and requiring more physical activity. Those are better ways to improve obesity than just imposing statewide junk food bans. Junk food should not be banned in schools because kids eat the majority of their meals outside of school. Offering students healthy lunches does not mean they will eat them. Finally, schools do not have enough funding and time to redo what has already been done.
One may argue that banning junk food in schools is effective. A school in Illinois makes the student and parent sign a “healthy contract” in which they pledge that the student will not eat junk food in or out of school. However, one such contract does not mention fast food meals that may be eaten by a busy family. People also argue that by banning junk food, test scores improve. In reality test scores could be improving due to multiple factors, not just by banning junk food.
A student consumes 180-360 meals a year at school depending if they eat just lunch or if they eat breakfast and lunch. In total a student consumes 780 meals a year at home or somewhere else. If students consume only 180 healthy meals out of 780 total meals, obesity in children will not be impacted. At home, parents should be educating their children on the right way to eat in order to be healthy. It is not the school board’s decision to decide what is healthy or not. Two people could have very different ideas on what they view as healthy or as junk. Lastly, nearly 99% of children watch TV after school. The advertisements promote junk food which causes children to want what is advertised.
If schools do offer healthy lunches, it does not mean that the students will eat them. Statistics show that more junk food is brought into schools from home on a daily basis than is available at school from vending machines. Kids also share and trade their food with other students. If a parent packs junk food in one child’s lunch bag, another student who has to buy the healthy lunch will most likely still get the junk food somehow if he/she desires. If a child is forced to purchase a healthy lunch then they can easily throw it away. From a personal experience, I have noticed that students at my school that purchase lunches eat everything on the tray except for vegetables and fruits.
If schools do decide to implement the healthier food into the cafeteria, it would be very expensive and a waste of time. Schools should be focusing on teaching children academics and letting parents teach them how they should eat. Different cultures and different people may eat different kinds of foods, and a school board should not be forcing students to eat something else. Most of the junk food that is sold is to fundraise for clubs and sports teams. If it was not sold, these teams and clubs would struggle to make profit to support their activities. Lastly, the school district would be in a major financial debt. Today in the state of North Carolina, the price for a lunch meal is $2.57. With healthier foods, the price would then increase to $2.68, which may not seem like that big of a deal, but adds up quickly over time. Again, statistics show that if a school had one thousand students they would be paying $19,800 a year. Multiplied by 29.6 million children in the National School Lunch Program, the deficit across the country would be $3.2 million per day. Junk food should not be banned in schools because kids eat the majority of their meals outside of school, Offering students healthy lunches does not mean they will eat them. Finally, schools do not have enough funding and time to redo what has already been done.
Thank you for your time,
Metallo, John. “Banning Junk Food in Schools Is Not Effective.” Times Union, Edited by Roman Espejo, July 2013, Opposing Viewpoints in Context.
Mooney, Carla. “Hooking the Youngest Eaters.” Junk Food Junkies, Lucent Books, Detroit, 2011, pp. 42–57, Student Resources in Context.