Junk Food Law Limits Choices, Does Not Promote Healthy Ones

Every day during brunch and lunch last school year, the student store was swarmed with people, staring into the glass case at the wide variety of candy bars.

This year, the student store is very different. The Snickers and Skittles are still there, but they’re packed away into a small corner, unavailable for purchase until after school.

This was the result of the state attempting to discourage the growing problem of obesity in America’s youth. However, regulating what can and cannot be sold during school is not going to help people become healthier individuals.

The junk food ban is an unnecessary regulation because the students who want to eat unhealthy foods at school will simply get their fix another way.

“People can get candy bars outside of school and kids can just bring them from home,” Student Store Commissioner junior John Flesher said.

On the other hand, some students feel that the law is a good way to promote healthy eating habits at school.

“I like [the law] because I feel it’s good; we need to learn how to eat healthy,” ASB President senior Jenny Uphoff said.

But at the same time, Jenny doesn’t think that the law will have a huge effect on students.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect the students that much. They can just go buy it and bring it to school,” Jenny said.

In addition, the law robs students of their right to make their own choices. High school students are old enough to make conscious and responsible choices about what they eat, whether they choose healthy or unhealthy foods.

“I think it’s people’s decision to eat what they want to eat,” John said.

After all, how can students learn to choose healthy foods over unhealthy ones if they don’t have the opportunity to make their own decisions at school?

The basis of a healthy lifestyle is making smart decisions. Forcing students to eat certain foods is not a decision—it’s an order.

Perhaps a better way to encourage good eating habits is to reinforce health education.

Health teacher Vickie Christensen feels that health education should be emphasized whenever possible.

“You can learn health information in other classes as well … It’s perfect for math. It’s perfect for biology … It’s perfect for culinary arts … I think whenever it can be reinforced is important,” Christensen said.

Or, maybe it would help to lengthen the high school health education course.

“It’d be nice to be able to spend more time on things so we could do more project-based things, because I would like to get away from just learning the core concepts to actually integrating them into our lives and being able to make those decisions,” Christensen said.

While obesity is clearly a problem in America that needs to be solved, the ban against junk food being sold at school isn’t the way to fix it.

Besides, the students that want to eat unhealthy food can still find ways of obtaining it. The state legislature should spend their time trying to find a more effective way to promote healthiness, such as imposing an improved system for teaching kids to eat well.

If health education is emphasized as early as elementary school, kids would be taught proper eating habits and could make good decisions on their own, without being restricted by law.

People have to learn that in the real world, candy and junk food is going to be sold, and they need to learn to make their own choices.

The lay may temporarily make students eat healthy at the school, but it restricts student freedom to learn a healthy lifestyle for themselves.