Congress Set To Ban Soda, Junk Food From Schools

Snickers and Cokes would be a thing of the past at school cafeterias and vending machines if the Senate approves an ambitious amendment from Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Murkowsky (R-AK). The amendment to the Farm Bill would establish strict federal guidelines limiting the sale of deliciously unhealthy treats brimming with sugar, salt, and fat.

The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.

Food for sale would have to be limited in saturated and trans fat and have less than 35 percent sugar. Sodium would be limited, and snacks must have no more than 180 calories per serving for middle and elementary schools and 200 calories for high schools.

The standards would not affect occasional fund-raising projects, like Girl Scout cookie sales.

Although states would not be able to pass stronger restrictions, individual school districts could.

The rules have the support of food and drink manufacturers, including the American Beverage Association, which worked closely on the amendment with Mr. Harkin’s office and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that has been critical of the food industry.

“This whole effort has momentum because of the variety of interests that have come together who do not usually find agreement,” said Susan Neely, president of the beverage association.

Some parents and nutritionists are angry that states will not be able to enact even tougher limits.

The inclusion of state-level preemption is angering several advocates, but makes the compromise palatable to the industry. Once advocates of local control, the sugar makers are betting that Congress will be less eager than adventurous states to maintain tough regulations that could harm their business.

The amendment’s fate – and that of the larger farm bill – is precariously uncertain. Senate Republican’s derailed the chamber’s last attempt to bring up the farm bill by demanding the right to offer amendments repealing the estate tax and adjusting the alternative minimum tax. Cloture was rejected 55-42. Senate leadership is expected to wedge the Farm Bill back onto the crowded floor schedule for debate early next week.

Effort to Limit Junk Food in Schools Faces Hurdles [NYT]
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  1. ChewySquirrel says:

    oh god no, school food tastes horrible as is. The government is not supposed to act as your parent, and decide what you get to eat.

  2. FishingCrue says:

    Generally speaking, how is regulation of sugar in local schools a federal function? I understand how it would work as far as limiting receipt of federal funding but does anyone else think that Congress should stick to its constitutional mandate? Further, any Congressperson voting for such a measure is basically admitting that his/her home state is incapable of passing its own laws.

  3. louisb3 says:

    @ChewySquirrel: It already does, at lest as far as schools are concerned. If you go to school, you eat what the schools serves (or you could brown-bag your lunches.) Given that, it’s better to serve healthy food than unhealthy.

  4. louisb3 says:

    *least, not lest.

  5. Rando says:

    Lol, here goes the government trying to baby sit us again.

    Ron paul pls

  6. Bloberry says:

    Better eliminate cookies and other dessert items from the menu, too. Bread and pasta can have a lot of carbohydrates, which turn to sugar. Oh no! Now what are we gonna do? I think those kids had better stick to the salad bar (but NO dressings!) and plain water (but not out of the drinking fountain because kids put their mouths on that all the time). Oh hell, forget it. It’s just too dangerous to eat.

  7. louisb3 says:

    @Bloberry: So you don’t believe in… uh… nutrition?

  8. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    Am I the only one who remembers school before Coca-Cola and Hershey were paying to get their vending machines into schools?

    I would be glad to see these companies foiled in their attempt to create and enforce brand loyalty in our schools.

    As for the “government babysitting us” nonsense… these are kids. Maybe we should make attending class optional, too? We wouldnt want the government forcing kids to go to class?

    Come on. Why is access to junk food for minors viewed as a right? If you want your kids to have a Snickers so bad, pack it in their f**king lunch yourself, but allow us parents who dont want their kids to spend their lunch money on a Coke and a bag of chips a chance.

  9. new and troubling questions says:

    It doesn’t seem wise to think of nutrition JUST in terms of calories, which seems to be the direction people are headed. I still have trouble with the idea that whole milk is less nutritious than artificially sweetened sodas…and plus, when I waitressed, I consistently saw that the fattest people I served drank diet cola and sweet n low with their coffee, so it doesn’t seem to do much good.

  10. Lyrai says:

    I think it’s a good idea. The coke & candy companies know damn well that if you can shove the junk down their maws early, they’ll get hooked. Which lead to the people supercheap sees – when they’re older, they’re trying desperatly to shed the weight.

  11. jomapivt says:

    This is just one more example of the federal government slowly but surely restricting the freedoms of choice of the citizens of this great country. From forced seatbelt use and mandatory daytime headlights to the farce that was 9-11, they are slowly but surely squeezing our freedom away. Oh, and how much are you paying for a gallon of gas these days? Or diesel, even worse?

    The first step in controlling a population is to get that population to give up its freedoms willingly. Check… 9-11 “attack”. The next step is to restrict the population’s movement. Check… $3.20 for a gallon of gas. The next step is to restrict what we can and cannot choose to eat and drink. Check… get those schoolkids drinking diet soda as early as possible. More aspartame, more cancer, more government control.

    Wake up, America!

  12. peggynature says:

    I’d like to know exactly what evidence they used in determining these cut-offs for kcals, etc. (And I’m not saying they didn’t use any good evidence…I’d just like to know what it is. DRIs? Something?)

  13. DallasDMD says:

    Either we have the freedom to poison the next generation of kids (hooray!) or somebody has the guts to put an end to the corporate sponsored adulteration of our food and drink products.

    What is wrong with telling schools to stop letting junk food vendors into their buildings and having them make sure all school sold food is of good quality and nutrition? If you believe in public schools, surely you believe in public standards for them?

  14. witeowl says:

    @randotheking: That’s right. Where the hell were free-thinking people like you when they took the ridiculous step of banning alcohol and tabacco from use by children?

    Dammit, these are kids. You realize that, right? Adults and society have a responsibility to guide and limit their choices. Since most parents can’t attend school with their children to control what they eat, schools have to stop offering unhealthy foods.
    .
    @supercheap: I agree with the first part of your statement at least. But, it looks like they’re already looking at more than just caloric content. They’re limiting sodium, simple sugar, saturated fat, and trans fats. I’d honestly prefer they put a limit on processed foods and used more whole foods, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

  15. DallasDMD says:

    @supercheap: Yep. Too many people here are obsessed with not having a government, be it local, state, or federal, coming in and saying that these types of products are unfit for consumption. If nobody steps in and does something about it, we will inherit a generation of very unhealthy people.

    Yes you have freedom, including the freedom to poison you and your kids. Isn’t that grand? I’m so glad people here are principled enough to stand for such a thing.

  16. BigNutty says:

    This is a no-brain-er. Raise your kids to eat right. As long as their is some healthy food available they could have all the crap in the world but the kids raised correctly will eat healthy with occasional splurges.

  17. rkmc12 says:

    @DallasDMD: Exactly.

  18. montecon says:

    @FishingCrue: No kidding. But you know, corn syrup travels across state lines, so they can do it. Or something like that. The fact that they are even discussing this at the federal level is so disappointing in relation to the complete irrelevancy of the Constitution.

  19. rkmc12 says:

    There’s no reason to offer the kind of crap in schools. As long as schools are offering meals, it should be healthy foods.

  20. Jackasimov says:

    If it has to come down to the government babysitting our kids, to me that’s just fine. I don’t trust the morality of large corporation to put health/safety over profits, I don’t have the time and energy to investigate the practices of every single company out there and I don’t expect kids to choose carrots over Twinkies by their fat little selves. If it takes the government to step in and enforce what happens at school for the better part of a kid’s day to keep them healthy and/or safe, I say babysit away. I’ll do the rest at home. I don’t think it can be argued against that it’s being done for the right reasons.

    I’m tired of that old “big government sticking their nose in where it doesn’t belong” song and dance.

    Of/By/For the people. Remember?

  21. arcticJKL says:

    @FISHINGCRUE:

    You have it right. They can not ban certain food from schools, that is the right of the States. Its all via federal funding. Or through the federal hot lunch type programs, which are just more federal funding.

    We need to describe these properly so that people understand the difference between contractual obligations and laws.

  22. JDobbs says:

    Sounds like the 7/11 across the street from the High School i work at has some pretty solid lobbyists. And i thought that place a had a license to print money now.

  23. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Hey libertarians: if you want your kids to have unhealthy diets, you can certainly manage that on your own. The school isn’t going to be undermining your efforts by taking out the deep fryer.

  24. Namilia says:

    Hey cumaeansibyl: If we want our kids to have healthy diets, we can certainly manage that on our own. The school has no business doing the parenting for the parents, it is not a babysitting/childcare service it is an educational institution (and in many areas not a good one at that! But that is another discussion for another day..)

    Off topic slightly, the direction of this country truly scares me. I also believe Congress should stick to their constitutional mandate – after all, that is what the mandate was created for.

  25. kingedwin says:

    The school I used to work at gets its entire technology budget from the vending machine contract.

  26. yahonza says:

    Is it safe to predict that kids simply won’t buy or eat the newly mandated healthy food?

    Why on earth would we expect teenagers to start eating healthy food? Its not like it ever happened in the past.

    And good for senate republicans for making even a small effort to derail the disastrous farm bill.

  27. Stephen Colon says:

    Finally.

    I’m sick of seeing schools that only sell crap. Granted, the crap sells, but it’s grossly unhealthy. Stuff like high-mayo chicken sandwiches, pizza, cup-of-noodles, and brownies twice the size of my fist should not be on the school menu… As far as drinks go, I believe that we should remove all sodas and “energy drinks” that are really just sugar and caffeine in a can. Let’s try and fix the obesity epedemic, not make it worse.

  28. Catsmack says:

    @Bloberry: Wow, you do realize there’s a vast difference between the sugars you’d find in a candy bar and the sugars which come from the breaking down of carbohydrates… right?
    This is exactly why people need, more than anything, to be educated about what they eat. That’s just sad.

  29. rkmc12 says:

    @Namilia: As long as schools are provifing meals (and that is another debate on its own) shouldn’t the meals be healthy?

  30. trollkiller says:

    @FishingCrue: Amen.

  31. Namilia says:

    I should amend what I said – while parents are perfectly capable of taking care of their children’s nutritional needs, I understand that a lot of parents depend on the free lunches or reduced lunches for their children at school, I remember I was once on this system. To that end, I would like to see healthier options in the cafeteria itself as part of the main menu instead of having to pay extra ($2.75 I think it was at the time) to buy something healthier or 75 cents for a bottle of water.

    My earlier comments were in direct reference to this post removing the soda machines and snack machines.

  32. nardo218 says:

    That’s great, but what about the food the cafeteria makes? It’s vile and packed with fat and calories.

  33. new and troubling questions says:

    @Namilia: That would be really, really awesome, except SO expensive compared to what exists currently…and it’s terrible that kids eat (and grow accustomed to) sugary, deep-fried, processed crap, but school budgets are squeezed down to the penny as it is. I don’t have a child, but if I did, I think I’d make an effort to at least supplement their school food with good things at home…at least they’d have something decent for the other two meals of the day.

  34. Buran says:

    So are they going to make it taste good, too? People eat what tastes good to them. Instead of banning what people like the taste of the most, why don’t we make the good stuff an appealing alternative? We could start by removing HFCS from sodas and going back to cane sugar, as a starting step, for example — it doesn’t change the taste much (it does change it) but even though it’s not as good for you as fruit juice is, it would start the movement toward making what people do choose to eat not so bad for you. Then continue from there.

    But instead, the government doesn’t think why people do things, it just thinks the ban hammer is the answer to everything.

  35. Buran says:

    @supercheap: That stuff is cheaper than the healthy stuff. Sad but true. It’s also a factor in addition to the “tastes better” factor.

    We need to make the best choices taste appealing, or make the “bad for you” stuff not so bad for you, AND bring the cost down.

  36. disavow says:

    Parents still have the opportunity to decide what their kids eat at school. It’s called sack lunches, or home-schooling.

  37. HawkWolf says:

    this is really complicated. Children don’t have the same rights as adults, and rely on adults to make choices for them because they aren’t educated enough. But… “Think of the children!” is a poor excuse to do something that harms *everyone* across the board.

    What would be so horrible about everyone being forced to eat healthily? Free will would suffer, but why should we let people hit themselves in the head with a hammer? So they can remove themselves from the gene pool?

    People can’t control themselves, and they can’t control their kids. If they could control themselves, The United States of America (and other countries) wouldn’t be getting so fat, litigious, etc. So what, do we sit back and let the market decide? The market will decide that people will do whatever the market says.

    Meanwhile, we all sit around on the internet debating whether we should regulate our kids’ lunches instead of doing stuff with our kids that helps them stay healthy….

  38. Buran says:

    @HawkWolf: Because we shouldn’t limit peoples’ right to make their own choices. It’s their life. Who are we to say what they should and shouldn’t do? How would you feel if I barged into your house and started telling you what color your decor had to be?

  39. Major-General says:

    Congress hasn’t thought this through. How will teachers get new amenities for their numerous lounges?

  40. dazette says:

    I just do not think it is Congress’ business to decide what I or my kids can eat. I don’t remember anyone running on this platform when they were trying to get elected. If this goes through the amount of wasted and thrown away food in school cafeterias would be able to feed a small third world country.

  41. kilde says:

    I think it is funny that government is trying to parent their citizens. Are children really intelligent free-thinkers? Advertising for these junk foods are advertised at youth that are impressionable. And I often remember how kids, including myself, would take our lunch money our parents gave it and buy soda and candy instead of actual cafeteria food. I think this would be a good move from the senate to promote healthier lifestyles.

  42. kilde says:

    @kilde:
    I meant to say think it is funny that people on this board are arguing that the government is trying to parent its citizens when the citizens in questions are children that need parenting.

  43. realwx says:

    I keep telling everyone… first make the lunches in schools edible then we’ll talk about making them healthy.

  44. Namilia says:

    Supercheap, that is similar to what I meant. I remember at my school a typical lunch consisted of a choice of chicken fillet (fried), a cheeseburger, a nasty peanut butter and jelly (with no jelly, some mixture on it), or “carpet pizza”. Sides were french fries (every day), mashed potatoes (daily), a random steamed or fried vegetable, and a fruitcup in heavy syrup. Salads were available for $2.75, Gatorade or water for 75 cents. Cookies were 30 cents and were sold right at the register (raising the temptation to get one, even if you were on the free/reduced lunch program…30 cents is not much).

    It is regretful how penny-pinched their budget is, and that they don’t offer anything wholesome as an entree most of the time. A lot of school cafeterias also have fast food on a few days a week (my school did not, but it is clear from the menu choices it still was not healthy at all) which is, in a way, free advertising for junk foods inside the cafeteria itself. Schools, as I said, are educational institutions so it is especially upsetting to see how dependent they have become on sponsors such as junk food companies. Every part of the “school experience” is now saturated with outside ads – from fast food in the cafeteria, to so-called PSA’s that are thinly veiled advertisements for sponsors, to the bookcovers with sponsors on them (although I remember using plain paper bags to make mine, they were more fun to decorate), to the mandatory watching in many schools of Channel One (www.channelone.com).

    For those unfamiliar with Channel One, it is a “news program” that is recorded daily in Los Angeles and satellite broadcast to schools across the nation. These schools, in return for having 90% of their students watch this program, receive free televisions and a satellite receiver/vcr that can only receive the Channel One frequency. So far, this doesn’t sound too bad. But, almost half of channel one is advertisements. It is a way to get advertising directly to the children while bypassing the parents. Even if the kids aren’t paying attention to the news, they still hear the ads. In some classes that I remember, we could get detention if we did not pay attention to this newscast. How does this make sense? Certainly it is important to know what is going on in the world and I have no grudge against the newscast itself, but getting detention for not paying attention to advertisements?

    Ah, I got completely off topic. *steps down from soap box and humbly gives it back*

  45. GTB says:

    I am both thrilled that food and beverage companies (possibly) won’t have a captive consumer group, and horrified that our government feels that it has this much control over citizens’ personal choices.

  46. DallasDMD says:

    @Buran:
    “Because we shouldn’t limit peoples’ right to make their own choices. It’s their life.”

    Because their life will ultimately shape the future of our society by their existence in it.

    “Who are we to say what they should and shouldn’t do? How would you feel if I barged into your house and started telling you what color your decor had to be?”

    I could care less what decor you put up in your house. However, when we allow corporations to put what is essentialy poison into our foods and deteroirate the collective health of society, I think its a very relevant issue for the government to be taking up.

    When parents fail to exercise the same responsibility for their children, its child abuse.

  47. DallasDMD says:

    @wftm: “I am both thrilled that food and beverage companies (possibly) won’t have a captive consumer group, and horrified that our government feels that it has this much control over citizens’ personal choices.”

    Take a side. There isn’t a middle ground here.

  48. DallasDMD says:

    @kilde: I agree. Freedom is great if you exercise it with careful restraint. Some people need a guiding hand because they otherwise would make choices that are, collectively, bad for society.

    There are too many reactionaries who think any regulation is bad because they know not of good government. Why don’t we agree that we need a better government but not throw these silly arguments out that a good government could the job it needs to do to maintain a healthy society?

  49. Namilia says:

    Ah, the eternal dispute of the individual vs “the good of society”. Individualism vs Collectivism. Democracy vs Socialism.

    I wonder how many of you have read the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. He felt that government control of the schools was important for a reason.

  50. new and troubling questions says:

    @Namilia: Hahaa I just remembered those disgusting PB&J “sandwiches” on crackers…and the infinite variations on the breaded, fried meat/greasy potatoes/sugary drinks menu, with a token green vegetable on a good day. But then, I remembered that there were kids whose parents’ idea of good brown-bag meal was to give them Lunchables, which somehow actually made school food look healthy. Wow, kids are screwed.

  51. DallasDMD says:

    @dazette: It used to be that Americans grew what they ate or if not, they bought it from someone they knew who did. The food was wholesome and produced a few generations of very healthy and rigid people.

    Now, we have let industrialism, technology, and economy run our lives. Corporations produce all the food but have no concern for the healthiness of said food products. Ignorant people buy modern food thinking it is healthy and nutritious when it is often quite the opposite. Something needs to be done and I don’t care who it upsets.

    I could care less about the occasional snack, cake, ice cream, etc. It is the fact that we are consistently making bad food choices that bothers me and worries me about the future health of our society. Can you say, with a straight face, that humans of today in America are better than those of 100 years ago? Sure, we have better health care, but we are getting sicker at the same time and weaker than those in past generations.

    Liberatrianism is a reaction against bad government. Lets agree on the idea we need better government that is willing to put a stop to this. You can still have your freedom.

  52. Mercade says:

    @Fishingcrue: “How is the regulation of sugar in local schools a federal function?”

    Any school that accepts funds as a part of the federal free and reduced lunch program must comply with federal nutrition guidelines. Any school district can choose not to comply with these regulations; they will forfeit any federal lunch money to which they are entitled. Likewise, states do not have to comply with No Child Left Behind if they choose not to receive any federal funding.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for either of those possibilities to happen.

  53. DallasDMD says:

    @Namilia: What good is your freedom if the population is obese, diabetic, and weak?

  54. DallasDMD says:

    @Buran: How do you propose banning something without banning something (re: removing HFCS whilst complaining about the “ban hammer”). People are not going to make these choices on their own because they don’t know any better.

  55. no.no.notorious says:

    @Namilia: i agree…i mean, when has a government owned program ever worked?

    i personally had some “beef” with this at my school…the only drinks they offered were juice and 1% milk…and a sugar free ice tea which was the only no cal drink besides water. the soda machines weren’t turned on until 2pm (i think). all i wanted was some diet soda…but pizza, french fries, hot dogs, and ice cream were ok.

  56. Buran says:

    @DallasDMD: Simple: make it economically attractive to use real sugar. I never said I’d actually ban anything to do it.

  57. Namilia says:

    @supercheap: No kidding, I remember Lunchables being the schoolday staple back in middle school. I got turned off from the school food after finding a dead mosquito in my hamburger when I opened it to put ketchup on it.

    @DallasDMD: I had typed a very long post, then decided that I was rambling too much. But if they end up obese, diabetic, and weak, then it is their own life choices that get them there. It isn’t too difficult to fit some form of exercise into a schedule, even if you can’t afford a fancy gym membership or whatnot (and I certainly can’t, I simply go for a walk/run in the evening)

    The short story is, we need to ensure through the schools that children are informed of healthy choices and the food pyramid and such, but if they decide to make bad choices despite being educated once they are older then it is their own fault for not using their common sense. With the programs available such as food stamps, I honestly don’t see why everyone can’t eat at least a little healthier, although I admit my own naivety in that matter (the food stamp/EBT program.) I am not fully aware of how such programs work, only that they exist and each family has a set balance they can use..I do not think it is asking much to cut out the chips and sodas to buy fresh fruit and veggies where they can, though.

    I agree with you we need better government.

  58. artki says:

    Hey Nannystate! Why don’t you try EDUCATING the kids to choose the right food. That’s what they’re in school for, right? For an education? If you can’t teach them to eat, you expect us to think you can teach them to read, write and do math?

  59. artki says:

    Hey Nannystate! Since the kids are in school to be educated, why not try teaching them to eat right? If you’re unable to teach them how to eat, why should we expect you to be able to teach them how to read, write and do math?

  60. new and troubling questions says:

    @DallasDMD: I agree, to a fault. But rather than outright bans on questionable things like trans-fats, HFCS, etc., it’d be nice to see real transparency from these corporations, and if consumers were better informed than they currently are, they’d probably default to making the right (or at least less wrong) choices…a free market CAN lead to a good outcome, but it depends on well-informed consumers and transparent companies, which hardly exist.

  61. XianZomby says:

    Excellent move. And bipartisan. Kids should decide themselves what to eat? No. When kids have jobs, pay their own health insurance and rent, then they can make decisions for themselves. If you put a glass of milk or a glass of Pepsi in front of a teenager, they will choose Pepsi — no matter what they’ve been told about healthy choices. Because teenagers are stupid. That’s why they’re in school.

  62. Namilia says:

    @artki: Thats kind of my point in my last post. *agrees*

    And Xian, that isn’t true of all teenagers. Sure there are those that’d go for the Pepsi, but not all of them would.

  63. EtherealStrife says:

    I wish this had been in place when I was doing k-12. The “normal” food is so disgusting that I’d usually go for pizza + dr. pepper on almost a daily basis. With the added discomfort of having to cart in my junkfood I probably would’ve stuck with the tasteless meal of the day.

    @artki: Uh that’s exactly what they’re doing. It’s like requiring you to take tests to prove that you’ve understood concepts taught in class. Except the tests are during lunch.
    Besides, you’re still able to bring any crap you like from home, you just can’t buy said crap from school. No longer will they promote the fattening of America.

  64. Rando says:

    @witeowl: Kids are to be raised by their parents. They’re to be taught right from wrong, from their parents. The government should not tell you how to raise your children, and the government shouldn’t be able to control what your children eat and drink. Think before you speak, wake your fucking mind up, drone.

  65. Craig says:

    I think given the crap served in public schools now and the shocking increase in obesity among our youth that we proven quite clearly that we DO need the government to babysit our kids.

  66. Namilia says:

    @EtherealStrife: I’d prefer they educate them to make healthy choices than try to make said choices for them. That coupled with good parenting at home should give the children the tools they need to make educated, informed decisions. Even if there is bad parenting at home, at least they’d have a basic understanding of the importance of proper nutrition, and sometimes kids teach their parents things ;)

    Also, until they remove ALL sponsored ads from schools, I will continue to think that schools are endorsing the fattening of America. One child, I believe it was in a Colorado school district, got suspended for ruining a school picture showing the school’s love for Coca-cola. Everyone was in red shirts and holding up a coca-cola sign and this kid breaks out in a blue pepsi shirt. Why am I mentioning this? I find it disgusting how badly school districts have sold out because they don’t get enough funding. I’m sure enough pork can be trimmed from federal/state budgets to cover costs currently covered by these “sponsors”.

  67. rkmc12 says:

    @Namilia: But we aren’t talking about adults and their right to choose. We are talking about kids here. Kids who we regulate all the time for their well-being. How is this any different??

  68. rkmc12 says:

    @randotheking: Are you serious? We’re talkig about kids, whose well being is regualted by the government in all aspects. How the hell is trying to make sure the food they eat in schools healthy, a bad thing.

    Parents can make them eat healthy food, but if the government is providing it, it shouldn’t be shitty food. Don’t want the government regulating your kids food? make them their own lunches and then you have all the say.

    Wake the hell up from the libertarian drone mindset there friend.

  69. pine22 says:

    many of you ignore the fact that parents are sucking at properly feeding their kids and schools are failing to educate kids on how to eat right. this is the fattest, most unhealthy and most obese generation so far and they stand to die earlier than previous generations.

    this is not about “freedom of choice” this is about health. parents can still pack whatever for their kids, this is just saying that schools wont sell pizza and soda so much.

    lets face it, kids dont make the right choices about food, if they could they would choose pizza, soda, and ice cream every day. dont tell me educating kids will prevent that cause all kids at that age (myself included) was like that.

    the allure of cheap and very unhealthy foods being sold to kids is ridiculous. i think we need to restrict advertising to young children. its esablishing terrible habbits that parents can’t even reverse.

  70. overbysara says:

    GOOD. but I can’t see it happening.

  71. Craig says:

    Also, I’m surprised nobody here has mention the TV reality show “Shaq’s Big Challenge.” This show took a look at the childhood obesity problem and addressed how to fix it, including introducing healthy foods that worked with the federal budget. There were a lot of challenges but they did end up coming up with some solutions, and among other things showed that 1) overweight kids wanted a way out but weren’t getting the education they needed on how to be healthy and 2) that kids who didn’t have a weight problem still wanted healthy options at school. Search for it online.

  72. azntg says:

    Great, with this amendment, we just might hear of students collapsing in school due to hunger and things along that line in certain parts of the country.

    Recently graduating from a somewhat prestigious New York City high school, all I can say is that school lunch was absolutely horrible. It was either eat in school or pack your lunch (if you do the latter, you’d better stay out of the cafeteria unless you don’t mind the odor-induced headaches). Just about every food imaginable served there was processed and at one point, either in a can, vacuum sealed, immersed in oil or frozen. Nothing was ever prepared fresh. Even those fruits and vegetables that would normally be appetizing if fresh, would be inedible.And, according to an interview (that I conducted) with the person in charge of nutrition in our school, they all satisfied the food and nutritional requirements imposed on the school.

    For the last two years in our school, I personally packed my own lunch or purchased a meal from a fast food chain (usually involved some prior planning, as to which meal would still be palatable after several hours. Sandwiches, rice dishes were fine in that respect). They may not have been healthy, but they’re probably more healthy than what school served us.

    I imagine that not all schools had that same problem. Surely, there must be schools that prepare fresh, palatable food. But I have absolutely no trouble believing that many public schools would have a food service program not too far different from the school I went to. It’s cheap, minimal labor, etc. Sweets, soda and junk food would be preferable that to whatever crap the schools would give. It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situtation if Congress decides to get involved.

  73. witeowl says:

    @randotheking: My “fucking mind” is well woken up. I’m fully aware of three significant points that you seem to be ignoring with your knee-jerk “freedom über alles” response:

    1a) Parents who educate their children are helpless to prevent their children from making poor choices during school lunches. Would you say “educate your children not to drink alcohol” and expect it to be enough? Nope. Children are children. We can educate them all we want, but we have to remember that they are, well, shall we say, childish and immature?

    1b) Beyond that, “educated” kids will find it impossible to purchase a nutritious meal at our (B+) cafeterias. Those days I forget to bring a lunch, I’m at a loss to find a single healthy meal in our cafeteria. No protein or vegetables. Wait, that’s not quite true: pepperoni has some protein, and ketchup is a vegetable, I guess. Other than that, it’s all grease and simple carbohydrates.

    2) Children in poverty very often have parents too busy trying to provide a damned roof over their heads to discuss the major food groups, much less model them. It’s “our” responsibility to step in and help care for those children.

    3) The government isn’t going to control what anyone’s children eat and drink. (Although, perhaps it should – some parents feed their kids such crap it borders on neglect.) You can feed crap to your kids all you want. Send them to school with Ding-Dongs and Twinkies and a Monster to wash it down with for all I friggin’ care. But, for the kids who have to buy food in the lunchline, I’m damned well going to support making those meals healthful.

    Seriously, how can anyone support feeding our kids pizza, french fries, and sugary drinks on a goddamned daily basis?

  74. new and troubling questions says:
  75. WolfDemon says:

    8 ounces simply is not enough to drink

  76. thesupreme1 says:

    Being 15 I of course disagree with this. I would have to see how good the food is to make my decision. Between eating what they make and pizza hut I always end up choosing pizza hut. I’d rather not eat at all then eat the other option. and I know of a lot of people that just eat chips and a soda rather then eat anything the school serves.

    You guys are all acting like we would eat your wholesome food. Personally if it tastes decent I wouldn’t mind it. But I know of a LOT of people who would rather just not eat. The girls are all trying to have a models body and would just see it as more of a reason to starve themselves. For some reason the girls think eating chips and pop is okay because it such small portions.

    I could see this entire thing backfiring on us.

  77. MBZ321 says:

    I’m in High School and while nutrition has gotten better through my years, some things leave me puzzled. For a while, salads were priced wayy too high for anyone to buy them. Now they are lowered to the standard “meal deal” price, and people DO buy them. But other things.. for example, Coke and Pepsi carbonated beverages were removed, but yet we still have Minute Maid “fruit” punch which contains only traces of juice, and tons of HCFS. Other vending machines are still full of candy and gummy things. We did have french fries, but just in the past few weeks they have been switched to onion rings, and I somehow doubt they are any healthier. Anyway, I’m saying good for the Government on this one. If kids don’t like it, they can pack their own lunch and put a can of Pepsi in with it if they want.

  78. Namilia says:

    @thesupreme1: Heh, I knew a girl in middle school that would use napkins to squeeze every ounce of oil out of her french fries that she could before eating them.

  79. waldy says:

    As a teacher in a district where 89% of our students eat free lunch, I’ve got to support these efforts. I agree they don’t go far enough, but they’re a great start.

    To all of the folks who argue that it’s parents’ responsibility to teach their kids good nutrition: wake up. That’s not always possible. Most of my students eat school breakfast, too, and at the elementary schools they also get dinner if they’re there for after school care. Thank God for it, because for many, there’s not much food at home. We have summer programs where kids can bring a backpack and leave with it full of nonperishables, just so we know that something’s going in the cupboard so the kids don’t spend all summer starving.

    Obesity is a big problem for these kids because their parents have so little. If you were broke and working all the time just to put a roof over your family’s head, do you suppose you’d have the time or energy to be home making three home-cooked meals full of fruits and veggies and whole grains? No. (Many WEALTHY Americans don’t do this, either–but they have the money to compensate, perhaps with more prepared foods from the grocery store, etc.) You, like their parents, would grab your kid a bag of cheetos to keep them happy.

    It’s tough for school cafeterias to provide food that’s nutritious, tasty, and mass-produced for the pennies they get per student from the government. I think that if we truly want to turn these kids’ health around, we’ll start looking at poverty reduction in addition to legislating what kinds of food can and cannot be served.

  80. Youthier says:

    @thesupreme1: Hee, I’ve been out of high school 6 years but most of my friends existed on Diet Pepsi and Sun Chips at lunch. I was one of the few that ate lunch and it was more out of necessity (I have wonky blood sugar levels) than nutrition or actual brains. And I would never have ate anything the school prepared.

  81. Freedomboy says:

    F*ck the freedom versus gov’t control crap here folks. What do the kids in Europe/Japan eat at school and are they better off in their health or not? They are the same mammals right?

  82. Buran says:

    @DallasDMD: That “poison” isn’t the only food available. People have choice! If someone decides to make choices that may not be the best ones, well, they can do that if they want. The government needs to make sure there’s no ACTUAL poison in food, and it does that already.

  83. Buran says:

    @Freedomboy: Actually, they’re starting to have the same problems we are because they’re voluntarily choosing to eat the same food that many people do here in the US.

  84. Buran says:

    @witeowl: You do realize how much more it’d cost to provide those alternatives? I think it’s ridiculous too but fact is, that stuff is cheaper. And consider the fact that teachers are often paying for school supplies out of their own pockets — do you really think schools can afford to buy other stuff? We need to fix the ridiculous agriculture bills that make that stuff cheaper.

    But we still need to remember that people have a choice, and that instead of screaming “OMG EDUCATION!!!!” we need to ask why those choices are being made. And it’s simple, really — people eat what is appealing to them. Why do they choose what they do? How can we make them choose what we want them to? Then, we make the ‘right’ choices more appealing — but we never, ever force anyone to make a particular choice. Guide them to it but don’t be so arrogant as to think we know better. That’ll just anger them.

  85. Buran says:

    @thesupreme1: See? That’s what I’m trying to say. The students go for what they like. If the alternative tastes like garbage, it will go ignored, and all the hairpulling and wailing isn’t changing that.

    When I was in school I went for whatever I wanted on that particular day, sometimes bringing in my own food, sometimes eating the cafeteria food (and I actually miss a dish my HS cafeteria made 15 years ago!) but I would resent it if some “Expert” claimed to know better than I did what I wanted to eat.

  86. EtherealStrife says:

    @Buran: If the alternative tastes bad it’s generally ignored, so the removal of junk food sales is necessary to facilitate change. Choices are not being removed, just the point of sale. The choice is still there to cart in your own junk, but doing so will require a conscious effort on your part.

  87. thesupreme1 says:

    @EtherealStrife:
    I’m curious to see how many HS have open lunch. We do and almost all upperclass men and some sophmores leave for lunch. To those saying bring bagged lunch…at my school that really isn’t an option. Bringing your own lunch will get you made fun of REAL quick. I know of only 2 people to ever bring bagged lunch to a Highschool…and let’s just say people are always pokin fun at him =

    Did anyone else have this problem…or is just at my school?

  88. witeowl says:

    @Buran: Every other week, I have what’s called “breakfast duty”. For that week, I and a colleague watch a significant portion of our middle school come in and purchase (most at free/reduced rates) breakfast. During that time, I watch students eat sugary cereals watered down with chocolate milk (really) and wonder: how would their behavior change if they had some protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats?

    Every day, I watch students buzz too-energetically through advisory class, only to become comatose a half hour later during first period. For the rest of the day, I see students unable to focus on lessons or so full of energy that they cause problems in the classroom and hallway.

    So, every other week, I’m forced to wonder: what sort of an impact is our food having? Every educator knows that a student with an empty stomach absolutely cannot learn. Is a malnourished student any better off?

    At the same time, we’re rebudgeting to hire deans of discipline and “instructional coaches” to meet rising needs. Sure, there are too many confounding variables to clearly link one with the others, but it is enough to give me pause. (Anecdotally, teachers interviewed during Jamie’s School Lunch Project saw behavior changes after a week or two of healthier whole foods.)

    So, when you say “higher cost”, I have to consider: cost or investment?

  89. ironchef says:

    @Jackasimov:

    so how do you propose stopping the epidemic of type II diabetes? The numbers are insane.

  90. wwwhitney says:

    I don’t understand anyone’s outrage at this. No one is forcing children to eat healthily. Any child can bring whatever food they want to school and eat it during lunch or snack times. If you want your child to eat candy and drink Coke, you have every right to send them to school with junk food every day.

    However, the purpose of school is to teach children to become productive members of society. That is not the sole reason for education, but it is certainly the reason we have publicly funded, attendance mandatory K-12 schools.

    Teaching children to eat healthier is good for the children and it’s good for our society. Obesity is a public health care crisis and I applaud this bipartisan effort to address it.

  91. Kaien says:

    @witeowl: Are you stalking these children for the whole day to know their behavior? What about lack of sleep? The behavior obviously isn’t just a sole factor, many factors is what causes a child to become comatose. Are you aware of these specific children’s health problems, if any?

    I think it is ludicrous to blame everything solely on what is being fed. I’ve only been out of high school for 6 years as well, and the eating habits haven’t really changed from what I’ve seen with my younger nephew.
    Kids throw away most of their food, especially if it looks unedible. Most just bring food if they don’t care for what is eaten. I’d rather see someone eat something than not eat. It is better to have some kind of food to give some energy than nothing at all.

    I can also somehow see some hustling market going on to get kids their fix.

  92. Her Grace says:

    @Buran: You’re deluded to think much of a choice exists. My high school was typical–I graduated in 2003. Daily options: pizza, french fries, milk, fruit cup in syrup, fried vegetable (usually okra), fried chicken sandwhich. Rotating options: cheeseburger, hamburger, chicken fried steak, onion rings, curly fries, mashed potatoes, peas and corn mix, and chicken nuggets. Plus cookies and ice cream. Those were the only options, and students were not allowed to go off campus for lunch. Okay, fine, you say. Bring your lunch. Social suicide, and most students in high school care more about their social life than they do about their health. I was very lucky that my friends tended to bring a sandwich from home, too.

    IF schools gave kids a choice and IF schools taught proper health classes (the only health class I got focused on why I ought to be abstinent to the exception of all else) with nutrition as a major factor, and IF students could get over their teenage sense of invincibility…choice MIGHT work. But as it stands, students do not have these things in public schools. Their parents often can’t (or the students WON’T) send lunch with them, either due to poverty or due to social pressures or both. We expect schools to educate and care for kids. They are entrusted to the schools 5 days a week for long stretches of time. If the schools are providing food, it MUST be good and at least closer to healthy than anything they ever gave me.

  93. bonzombiekitty says:

    Some people seem to be a bit confused on this article. This is not “Congress deciding what your kid can and cannot eat” this is Congress saying “Schools should not offer unhealthy foods. If you don’t like what the school serves, bring your own lunch.” This is a good thing since if a parent sends their kid to school with money to buy lunch, the parent has no control over what the kid eats. I’ve seen plenty of kids have a lunch that consists of a soda and bags of doritos from the vending machine when I was in high school.

    I don’t see how not stocking soda and candy in vending machines in the schools is a violation of anyone’s rights.

  94. thepounder says:

    @Her Grace: Wow, “Social suicide”. that’s so… highschool. :)
    It’s your parents’ responsibility to ensure you eat right until the school removes its head from its backside and adds better food to the menu.
    I indeed agree that the schools should put much more effort into getting quality food into the lunchrooms… but when it’s just not there, bring a lunch. You bring a lunch because what other kids say about you is trite and outright stupid, and you feel you need to eat better stuff than greasy fries and Cokes.

  95. witeowl says:

    @Kaien: First, I’ll put aside the ridiculous “stalking” accusation because it’s just unsporting to pick on you for making assumptions about my particular position within the school for the past three years (hint: not all educators are locked into a classroom all day).

    More importantly: you may wish (re)read this part of my post: Sure, there are too many confounding variables to clearly link one with the others, but it is enough to give me pause.

    This is actually not my biggest reason for supporting this bill (see other posts for those), but was a direct response to the idea of “cost”. I couldn’t care less about the cost, and do believe that the benefits (including reduced health problems in adulthood) very likely will outweigh the extra financial outlay, if any.

  96. witeowl says:

    @witeowl: *may wish to

  97. Robobot says:

    I don’t care for the term “healthy” being applied to some of these things. They’re saying diet sodas are healthy, which is a lie. Artificial sweeteners aren’t exactly harmless. I’d rather give my kid a glass of water with lemon than a can of soda, but I’d rather give that hypothetical child a real soda than something full of aspertame.

    This might sound dumb, but why are we only worrying about school lunches? Kids aren’t just gaining weight from Twinkies, they’re gaining weight because they never exercise! Most gym teachers don’t teach students how to exercise for life and American health classes are beyond useless. If kids are under the impression that exercise is all about running the fastest mile and getting flagged on the basketball court while chasing around a flat basketball, they will not want to exercise.

  98. Red_Eye says:

    @witeowl:

    1b) Beyond that, “educated” kids will find it impossible to purchase a nutritious meal at our (B+) cafeterias.

    Wow here at my kids school in Georgia they have to follow strict guidelines and the foods is nutritious and tastes like crap. My kid would rather go hungry most days than eat school lunch.

    2) Children in poverty very often have parents too busy trying to provide a damned roof over their heads to discuss the major food groups, much less model them. It’s “our” responsibility to step in and help care for those children.

    I have my own family to care for thank you very much, do not include me into your socio community of ‘we’ or ‘our’ without my consent mmm ok? I dont care what excuses you want to give for the impoverished parents the bottom line is that kid is their responsibility. We didnt all crawl in bed to make that kid. Just because they cant live up to their responsibility as parents doesnt mean I am obligated to do so. If you want to help them raise their kid go for it. Dont make choices for me though.

    3) The government isn’t going to control what anyone’s children eat and drink. (Although, perhaps it should – some parents feed their kids such crap it borders on neglect.) You can feed crap to your kids all you want. Send them to school with Ding-Dongs and Twinkies and a Monster to wash it down with for all I friggin’ care. But, for the kids who have to buy food in the lunchline, I’m damned well going to support making those meals healthful.

    Seriously, how can anyone support feeding our kids pizza, french fries, and sugary drinks on a goddamned daily basis?

    I dont mind it being healthful but there is a fine line there for kids. Lets see they can consume all of a non-nutritious 300 calorie lunch, get the energy they needs and the some of the nutrition and have a full belly so they arent distracted or..

    you can feed them the over glorified sawdust tasting food that some schools do now, they will have a bite or two and still get less nutrition than they do from the crap food.

    I make my kid her lunch every night, she gets meat cheese, grains carbs and junk food. Guess what, my kid is in the upper percentile for her size and lower percentile for her weight. She is a tall lean machine with a large head and utterly brilliant for a 5 year old reading anything you throw at her and comprehending it.

  99. backbroken says:

    I almost spit-out my 64 oz Coke while reading this!

  100. smoothtom says:

    @jomapivt: So, the federal government is restricting the freedom of school children to purchase junk food at a school whose cafeteria is funded with federal money?

  101. MameDennis says:

    I think it’s hysterical that some are so happy about depriving Big Junk Food of its captive market… when *diet soda* is still going to be sold.

    Naturally, there’s no marketing muscle behind that stuff.

  102. DallasDMD says:

    @Red_Eye: Wow here at my kids school in Georgia they have to follow strict guidelines and the foods is nutritious and tastes like crap. My kid would rather go hungry most days than eat school lunch.

    Then improve the lunches! Nutritious does not have to taste like crap. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    do not include me into your socio community of ‘we’ or ‘our’ without my consent mmm ok

    Ah, the fallacy of individualism. You are part of a community and greater whole. Deal with it.

    Dont make choices for me though.

    Choices are already made for you. Ever heard of laws?

    Guess what, my kid is in the upper percentile for her size and lower percentile for her weight. She is a tall lean machine with a large head and utterly brilliant for a 5 year old reading anything you throw at her and comprehending it.

    We’re talking about the net effect, not your kid in particular. I grew up on junk food and turned out fine myself (though I have ADD, who knows if there is a link there?). However, health in America is an epidemic and it is due to poor food choices. We need to do something.

  103. hubris says:

    The sad fact is that childhood obesity is an epidemic in our time. And if one way to confront that and fight it is for the government to get corporate sponsored trash out of the school system, I’m all for that. Sure, it would make much more sense to give schools more money so they don’t have to seek corporate sponsorship, but that isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

    Yes, there are a lot of people who are responsible parents and do send their kids with good quality food. Guess what? This won’t affect you in any way. But for the millions of children who go to school and buy absolute crap, maybe having no alternative to fresh fruit and vegetables will be a GOOD thing, n’est ce pas?

    Sure, everyone bitches and moans about the nanny government and it meddling in everyone’s business, blah blah blah. But above all, the government is there to ensure the well-being of its citizens. And the system that’s grown steadily since the 1980′s, with corporate sponsorship, is doing so MUCH damage that it’s time to make a change. I’d much rather have the government meddling in something like this than starting baseless wars and sending us into astronomical debt.

  104. @FishingCrue: “Generally speaking, how is regulation of sugar in local schools a federal function?”

    Probably because domestic sugar generally is massively federally subsidized by tax dollars (and foreign sugar is massively federally tariffed to prevent competition), and school food programs receive federal funding. What part of the process ISN’T already federally controlled?

    @supercheap: Part of the reason crap is so much cheaper than whole foods is that the federal government heavily subsidizes the crap. It’s one of the unending ironies of the farm bill is that every year they put a couple million into nutrition education and school curriculums to try to make us less fat, and tout those as the USDA’s major goals, while putting billions into farm subsidies that primary create cheap corn-based sugar and cheap, corn-fed, well-marbled meat.

    @dazette: “I just do not think it is Congress’ business to decide what I or my kids can eat.”

    Congress is already deciding what you can eat. It is called the farm bill. It provides massive tax dollars to things corporations want you to eat, and completely fails to fund things that Congress claims to want you to eat (like vegetables) but that don’t enrich corporate America. Congress also decides by putting tariffs on many agricultural products that corporate America would prefer we not import (like can sugar) so that domestic HFCS, which is already subsidized to be dramatically cheaper than other sugar forms, has less competition.

    I think you should take a moment and appreciate that Congress is, at least a LITTLE BIT, deciding you should eat food that’s good for you rather than good for corporations. Because Congress is ALREADY deciding what you eat; they’re just currently deciding you should eat crap.

    It’s a really excellent tactic, by the way, when you can be convinced that attempts to change the law AWAY from corporations’ benefits and FOR the citizenry’s benefit is in fact an attempt by Congress to become a nanny state. Congress is already making all of those decisions FOR you. It’s just that when they do it so that it benefits corporations, corporations spend a lot of time (and money) telling you it’s the “free market” at work, whereas when it benefits YOU, corporates spend a lot of time telling you that the government is restricting your freedom.

    You “stop parenting me, Congress!” folks can’t seriously be that naive about agribusiness in this country, can you?

  105. Tank says:

    when i was a kid, there were these people called lunch ladies. all while wearing plastic gloves and green shower cap-like things over their hair, they made a crappy pan pizza, braised beef, wax beans and cauldrons of soup. they didn’t unpack boxes of chips, cookies or stock coolers with cases of soda.

    wtf??

  106. cerbie says:

    @jomapivt: we’re already a long, long, way past what you’re talking about, and have been since way before 9/11. You’re basically complaining that they chose red after 9/11, when you never had the choice of color in the first place, but happened to like the blue that was there, before.

    @nardo218: fat and calories are very, very good; it’s just the vile part that’s bad. Hydrogenated oils giving those fats, lots of salt, and added sugar and modified starches (what exactly are those?) offering calories are not so good.

    If a school served pizza that had under a dozen ingredients, it would not resemble what most of us have known as school pizza. It also wouldn’t offer much in the way of bad nutrition, if any, and would taste better (and be totally full of yummy fat and calories). But, it would not be as cheap a the pizza where the crust alone likely has over fifty ingredients, many not so easy to pronounce, and it would take more effort to prepare.

    @thesupreme1: you clearly have no idea what wholesome food is–tofu and portabella peddlers do not go a good job of making a good image for good food. It is sad that Pizza Hut is superior to the school’s lunch food. There are no good reasons (note: I’m not saying there isn’t any reason, just that they do not outweigh the harm) that cafeteria food can’t be just shy of good home made food in quality, removing any appeal for the likes of Pizza Hut and friends.

  107. Red_Eye says:

    @DallasDMD:
    Then improve the lunches! Nutritious does not have to taste like crap. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    No they are not, however the school is not allowed to make changes to the lunches as part of regulations. the menu is set and our school has no choice according to the cafeteria staff, thats fine if the gov wants to feed the unwashed masses food pellets, or over glorified MRE’s don’t expect to see my kid in line.

    Ah, the fallacy of individualism. You are part of a community and greater whole. Deal with it. Choices are already made for you. Ever heard of laws?

    Yes I have heard of laws. The most unfortunate part of the untied states is the bleeding hearts that say;
    “You work hard and made something of yourself and make a good living for your family. Now you cant keep all that because the slack ass to your right doesn’t work, sits on their butt and contributes nothing to society but hungry mouths. They have 10 kids and you must subsidize those children because it would be morally wrong of you to deny those children food.”

    No, it wouldn’t, their parents were morally wrong for creating moths they couldn’t feed. Sorry if you dont like that but I dont like the government stealing what i work for so they can be ‘nice’ to others. If I want to give I will.

    We’re talking about the net effect, not your kid in particular. I grew up on junk food and turned out fine myself (though I have ADD, who knows if there is a link there?). However, health in America is an epidemic and it is due to poor food choices. We need to do something.

    Again here is the community being responsible for the world instead of the individual being responsible for themselves. I grew up on school pizza and burritos (California) and man was it good food and I didn’t go hungry and while I am overweight now I wasn’t in school. Nobody will ever make me fee obligated to care for another’s responsibility. Sorry just not gonna happen. I had a kid, I am responsible for her, I need to educate myself on whats best for her, I need to provide that for her if I want her to thrive and have a better life than I did. Yes poor health is an epidemic, and AFAIAC its a personal responsibility. They can teach it in school all they want, the can provide all the crummy tasting food they want, just dont make it my problem or my fault. I am doing my job as a parent in caring for my child dont make me work two jobs taking care of others kids because they just want to screw.

  108. Phunk says:

    How did I know this thread was going to turn into a lolbertarian circlejerk.

    I think it’s excellent that the government act the nanny in this case. Education isn’t just about the 3 R’s and if the feds can take a step to force kids to eat healthy while in school, I’m all for it.

    And for the people droning on about personal liberties and all that jazz, I don’t want to hear any pissing and moaning about ever rising health care costs due to obesity. This is a problem that has ripple effects much beyond some lard ass kid shoving Snickers bars in his face.

  109. DallasDMD says:

    No they are not, however the school is not allowed to make changes to the lunches as part of regulations. the menu is set and our school has no choice according to the cafeteria staff, thats fine if the gov wants to feed the unwashed masses food pellets, or over glorified MRE’s don’t expect to see my kid in line.

    Then lobby the right people to get the menu changed, or to give the schools freedom to serve lunches compliant with nutritional regulations however they see fit.

    Sorry if you dont like that but I dont like the government stealing what i work for so they can be ‘nice’ to others. If I want to give I will.

    Thats not really material to the point I’m making about health and nutrition in society.

    Again here is the community being responsible for the world instead of the individual being responsible for themselves.

    No, the nation should be responsible for itself. The individual is part of the nation as a unit of society and the culture that defines it. We should seek to have the best people in our society, not a mass of overweight, diabetic, and sickly people.

    Nobody will ever make me fee obligated to care for another’s responsibility. Sorry just not gonna happen.

    Selfishness destroys society. We’re already well along in that regard.

    Yes poor health is an epidemic, and AFAIAC its a personal responsibility.

    See above.

    They can teach it in school all they want, the can provide all the crummy tasting food they want, just dont make it my problem or my fault.

    You don’t, yet you pay for taxes and probably vote or otherwise participate in a political process that defines how society should be regulated and governed. A government, by definition, rules over the masses.

    It boggles my mind to understand why people would find the idea of a government wanting to provide better food and shutting out these corporations that provide food with no redeeming value whatsoever to be bad.

    The greatest cultures were developed not on the premise of freedom and individuality but on agreement in society. Unfortunately, rotten decadence has created people who are afraid of other people, afraid of greatness, and afraid of self-sacrifice for the whole.

  110. Trai_Dep says:

    It’s pretty damn hysterically funny that the Freepers’ panties are in a bunch over schools choosing their lunch menus, yet accept that schools be allowed to feed kids period. Can’t really – if you’re an adult – have one without the other, right?

    I could see it if the Freepers are saying schools offering lunches is Communism, or it’s their stealing of their precious bodily fluids, or whatever. They never would, since this is an issue that would actually involve them getting off their butts and, I don’t know, make their kids’ own lunch. Can’t have them being inconvenienced.

    But logically, once you allow The State to feed kids lunches, you’re implicitly allowing them to choose what to feed them. So, feed them better. End of story.

  111. slapBOXmaster says:

    This is a step in the right direction. No matter how well you train your child to “eat right” any normal kid will almost always grab cookies over carrots and soda over water if you eliminate that choice they will be better off in the long run. Kids will be kids and kids like sweets.

    Also just because the food is supposed to become healthier doesn’t mean it has to taste like crap. If the food staff at the schools are forced to buy unprepared goods and actually cook them they can easily create great tasting meals for your children..just like you (parents) hopefully do at home . For me this isn’t about taking away choices for kids its about making sure that all the choices they do have are all in their best interest and not the interest of the junk-food companies. And if your kids are complaining about the school food being terrible why don’t you go to the school and ask to have one of the lunches and decide for yourself if it’s really that bad. If it is then push ( with your fellow parents) and have it changed or you could you know.. make your kids lunches yourself.

  112. m0unds says:

    Wow, way to tackle the important issues, Congress…

  113. ironchef says:

    @m0unds:

    That’s more action than the previous republican majority congress can brag about.

  114. meeroom says:

    The school lunch situation is a great example of how capitalism fails. Schools were given money by corporations whose goal was to create new consumers of their products. If anyone has been to a school cafeteria lately, you’d see that all they serve is processed garbage, there are rarely any healthy options. The nutritional value of what kids are fed is based purely on the bottom line and what can be made with the least impact on the school budget. Changing what is available to children in the school is a good idea, and the attention to this issue is long overdue.

  115. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Wow I think this is a good idea. If the school takes the money they have to follow the rules. And crying that your kid shouldn’t have thier menu decided for them by some faceless paper pusher is really weak. We all have some part of our life controlled by others. Do I like it no, but I realize what I can change and what I can’t.

    I wish we had nutritious food at my school. Heck we didnt even have a cafateria, we got served Pizza hut, Taco Bell and Burger King..AT SCHOOL. There were no other choices period. Would I have always eaten the healthy fare…no but I would have eaten a lot healthier. I brought my lunch or went without I just couldn’t stomach eating that junk everyday. And my parents actually belived at 16 I could decide what I wanted, I packed my own lunch. Also we were about 5 miles from anyplace where you could get food, and we werent allowed to leave school at lunch. SO you really were trapped by the school and the FF places.

  116. witeowl says:

    @Red_Eye: Wow, you’re a special kind of cold-hearted, aren’t you?

    I dont care what excuses you want to give for the impoverished parents the bottom line is that kid is their responsibility. We didnt all crawl in bed to make that kid.

    Sure, punish the children for the sins of their parents. Even my middle school students of all socioeconomic levels recognized this (without prompting) as the first reason to provide nourishment to children in poverty. As they pointed out, those children didn’t ask to be born.

    Beyond that, you are so short-sightedly selfish that you’re hurting yourself in the long run. Pay for them now or pay for the later, you’re going to foot the bill for those children. It’s true with education now vs. prison later, and I posit that it’s true with nourishment now vs. healthcare later.

    she gets meat cheese, grains carbs and junk food…my kid is in the upper percentile for her size and lower percentile for her weight. She is a tall lean machine with a large head and utterly brilliant for a 5 year old

    Thankyou for proving my point. You don’t suppose that the meat, cheese, grains, and carbs that balance out the junk food have anything to do with her success, do you?

  117. Cullen D says:

    They did this in my school, taking out the pop wasn’t too smart. We can have gatorade, which is chocked full of sugar, for only .25 more, so 1.25 a week — $45 a school year. Our lunches are already horribly over priced and under portioned, the high school lunches cost more than elementary lunches, but the portions are the same. They went on a health kick and got rid of anything fried, and because of this, for some reason they raised ALL the prices of everything. I now spend about $26 a week on lunch, and don’t even get filled up.

  118. MommaJ says:

    I don’t have crap available in my house for my kids to eat, and I don’t want the school, paid for by my taxes, to have crap available for my kids to eat. Because, given the opportunity, kids will always choose crap. Why is this a problem for anyone? I suspect that the posters blathering on about the government taking away their freedoms don’t have children. In our district, the schools take in a lot of revenue from the vending machine companies, and have therefore resisted taking the chips and candy out of the schools. (They know healthy snacks won’t sell nearly as well.) It’s a sorry state of affairs.

  119. thefeedingground says:

    maybe society will find out that not every kid in the world needs to be diagnosed with ADHD after all. maybe kids just eat and drink too much crap that causes sugar rushes, mood swings and inattentiveness during the school day.

    i have to laugh when i hear people complain that the big, bad government is taking freedom away from kids. is government raping kids of their freedom to buy cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, guns, bomb making supplies and porn as well? please don’t take there rights to easily accessible, long-term disease causing candy and soda. i mean, sure they can bring it from home with no governmental barriers, but they should be able to have instant access, right???

    let’s face it. while most of you people consider yourselves to be well above average intellects and A+ parents, 90% of parents in America choose bad things for their children to eat and don’t know good eating habits themselves. it’s not like we can REALLY rely on most parents to teach their kids this stuff in their own homes.

    lets actually applaude the government on this one. while it might not be the most perfect plan, it’s definitely a major step in the right direction.

  120. m0unds says:

    @ironchef: I suppose. But I don’t think being “less shitty” is worth any kind of praise.

  121. jomapivt says:

    @smoothtom

    I don’t think the Coke machine and the Doritos machine are put in schools by federal money. I do object when the so-called “educated elite” force their “enlightened” point of view on others, but that’s beside the point.

    The real point is this, and I’d LOVE you to answer this one question intelligently. Why is Coke unacceptable, in the name of having healthier kids, when Diet Coke is going to continue to be sold? Do you know what aspartame turns into chemically when it reacts with the acids in your stomach? FORMALDEHYDE!!! That’s real healthy, don’t you think? AND THE GOVERMENT KNOWS THIS!!! It’s all about government control of the population. Open your eyes!!! Look around you as your freedoms are eroded one by one. It’s the New World Order, it’s coming right at you, and by the time you relaize it, it’ll be too late.