Feature

Banning junk food

Congress is considering a ban on most junk foods in public schools, said The Orlando Sentinel, and that's smart in an era when "too many kids are getting super-sized." Lawmakers have their hearts in the right place, said John Gamboa in The Daily

What happenedAn amendment in a farm bill the Senate is debating this week would prohibit public schools from selling kids candy, sugary sodas, and salty chips. Public health groups are pushing the ban because they say it will help make kids more healthy by setting nationwide nutrition standards.

What the commentators saidThis ban is “a good compromise in the food wars,” said The Orlando Sentinel in an editorial. It gives manufacturers standards they can meet to make products schoolkids can eat, and it protects kids from unhealthy fare. It’s about time—“too many kids are getting super-sized, leading to all sorts of health problems.”

Kids “have grown fatter,” said The New York Times in an editorial (free registration), and this is “one obvious way to help.” But this “worthy” effort is “imperfect,” partly because it is wrapped up in a farm bill that is “about as good for the American consumer as most of the confections in school vending machines.” It also would allow high schools to continue selling diet sodas, which is why even “the people who make Mars bars, Frito-Lay chips and Coca-Cola” back the amendment.

“Americans are fat,” said John P. Gamboa in The Daily Aztec, San Diego State University’s student newspaper. “There is no way around it.” Congress has its "heart in the right place," but it would be “over-stepping its bounds” by banning certain foods. That’s the job of parents.

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