Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States, nearly twenty percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11 are clinically obese; however the government has no place trying to control this. (CDC, 2008) The current administration over steps its authority moving beyond the control of federally funded school lunches and into oversight of privately owned vending machines in public schools. Major corporations are being bullied into censoring their advertisement exposure to younger children so that the government won’t impose their own regulations. It is a parent’s responsibility and right to educate their children and control what they eat. The Federal government should not try to control what children eat by imposing regulations at schools, controlling the media, or by taking the responsibility away from parents.
Food in Schools
Every day in the United States millions of children attend school, and depending on their age they or their parents must choose what they will eat while there. There are many choices to make when it comes to controlling ones diet; some of these include bringing your food from home, purchasing food from a school cafeterias, snack bars, or canteens, or buying food from a vending machine. The nutritional value of these choices can vary widely; traditionally food bought in the school cafeteria is considered unhealthy. But thanks to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) a federally funded program that provides free or reduced price meals to those who qualify, and the Let’s Move campaign, a national initiative to fight childhood obesity, school cafeteria food is getting healthier. Both of these programs are federally funded and provide aid to our public and nonprofit private school systems. Their financial contributions give them grounds to control the quality and nutritional value of the meals being funded; the problem is the Let’s Move program imposes “big government” in state-run schools.
Snack machines are big business in the public school system. They are privately owned and serviced, in order to be placed in schools the vending companies enter into contracts where a portion of profits are provided back to the school. These profits often play a big role in an already tight school budget; they pay for necessities such as copies of student handouts and other teaching aids. Where the problem begins is that the Let’s Move program authorizes the United States Department of Agriculture to set standards for all foods regularly sold in schools including vending machines and al la cart lunch lines. Neither of the affected receives funding from the program, making this a controversial issue of the federal government setting controls on state funded schools. The federal government needs to stay out of state run programs, especially when it can affect funding which directly relates to our children’s education.
Aside from federal restrictions on food in public schools some states have allowed their...