By Fredrica Syren
The latest effort to combat childhood obesity is now a quest to transform what kids eat in the nation’s 100,000 schools. The kinds of snacks and drinks available to kids will now be regulated. As of next year, high-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will no longer be sold in schools; in their places will be diet drinks, granola bars and other, healthier snack foods.
One of the biggest changes under the rules will be a near-ban on high-calorie sports drinks, which many beverage companies added to school vending machines to replace high-calorie sodas that they pulled in response to criticism from the public health community.
Many schools already have made many huge changes to their lunch menus and have replaced high-calorie and fatty foods such fried mozzarella sticks and nachos with healthier pizzas, whole wheat pitas, low-fat burgers, fruits and yogurts.
Of course, there have been complaints about the new healthier lunches, and some children claim not to feel as full after eating the healthier choices. I think it’s simply that they do not like the “new” foods and won’t eat them and, therefore, feel hungry.
In 2007, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that banned the sale of sodas in high schools and replaced high-calorie snack foods in vending machines with baked chips, fruits and yogurts. Some parents were outraged and would show up at recess in protest to hand over candy bars to their kids.
It’s so sad to see that some parents don’t recognize how bad junk food is for their children and can’t recognize what is best for their kids’ health.