Should public schools further restrict the sale of unhealthy food and beverages?

A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that adolescents in states that sharply restrict access to food vending machines, snack bars and sugar-based drinks in public schools gain less weight than those in states without such restrictions. Today’s Question: Should public schools further restrict the sale of unhealthy food and beverages?

  • Gary F

    Why not have a person employed by the school district to also patrol what comes in their lunch boxes each day? Kids would need to pass through an inspection point and have their backpacks searched.

    There should also be school employees monitoring kids as they eat their lunch so that they each their veggies and not trade any foods.

    Its for the children.

  • Melina

    Yes. Students get way too much junk food as it is, without schools helping. I also think schools need to improve the foods that they are offering students for breakfast and lunch. I work in a school and for my low income students what they get at school is their main food source during the school year. Offering healthy food/beverages is very important.

  • Alex

    I think that schools should be teaching students about nutrition and one way to show that a product is unhealthy is by not serving it in school.

  • Betsey

    When I was in high school in the early 90’s, the pop machines were turned off during the day. That was maybe a little meaningless since the DECA kids sold candy bars to fund their activities, but it did show that the administrators were at least paying a little attention to nutrition. There are so many kids who ONLY get their meals from school, so I think it is the school’s DUTY to serve healthy food exclusively.

  • Craig

    There are many unhealthy things I do not allow my kids to have; soda is one of them. Yet they have it occasionally when out and about. They love it, because it is so well designed, chemically speaking. If it were in their school they would buy it. I expect a school to assist, or at least be neutral, in my efforts to raise healthy children; instead of selling access to them as members of a captive market. Soda machines are revenue generators, we essentially chose to pay higher yearly tuition in order to obviate the health risk.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Evidence-based public policy. What a concept!

  • Gayle

    Schools offer educational and intellectually stimulating learning materials to students, rather than comic books or video games that don’t stimulate learning. Naturally, schools should follow suit and offer a wide variety of healthy food choices to students. School is a place for kids to learn and grow, eventually becoming healthy adults who can engage and contribute in our society. If we don’t feed them junk curriculum, why would we think it’s okay to feed them junk food?

  • david

    Of coarse the schools shouldn’t be selling crap to children. They are children and most won’t make proper decisions when it comes to nutrition.

    I don’t get the comment about policing what children bring in their lunch boxes. That is a totally extremist leap, and does nothing but promote and try to force an extremist argument into the discussion. Sad every little thing needs to be turned political. If we are going to do that then lets discuss how about half in this country refuse to address healthcare reform and the out if hand cost of health care. I think promoting healthy eating behavior in schools would go a long way towards reducing future costs, and wouldn’t add to the size of government, or make the mitt romneys of the world have to start paying their fair share in taxes. It would only infringe on some’s rights to grow up to be fat, unhealthy, drains on the healthcare system. If we reduce a significant portion of that population maybe it’ll reduce my having to pay the $1.10+ on the dollar that i am paying for healthcare now.

    Ok trolls, run with that…..

  • Ann

    If a parent gives money to a child, the rules about spending the money should be set by the parent. If you look at what parents buy in the grocery store, you will see that many parents allow their families to have plenty of food other than vegetables and fruit.

  • Jim G

    Yes. Educate the whole child, body and mind. You need both to live a long, productive, and happy life.

  • Jefferson

    There need to be healthier options available for students of all ages. I remember we didn’t have an option to get a deli sandwich and a salad (salad bar) until high school…in the lower grades you are stuck with whatever the lunch room serves…which usually ends up being some tater tots (or the infamous tri-tater) and a hot ham & cheese sandwich along with an undesirable vegetable medley (lima beans, corn and carrots all mixed together comes to mind). On top of that when you go into the high school lunch room you get access to fried food (pizza, fried chicken sandwich and burgers) for the first time…so you start to compare the salad bar to the fried food or the standard hot ham & cheese sandwich (or a failed attempt at pasta) at age 14…most kids pick the fried foods especially if they didn’t have access to the fresh foods at a younger age to appreciate the taste of a good fresh salad. Perhaps it’s time to add a salad bar to the middle school lunch room…or even to offer a healthier option to elementary school students.

  • Wally


    The mean Food Cop came to our school

    And this gal had a gun

    She poked her nose in each lunchbox

    And no, it wasn’t fun

    She tossed out Johnny’s Twinkies

    And Sarah’s Sara Lee’s

    And when she got to Billy’s box

    He begged her, “Pretty Please,

    Don’t take my treats, my snacks and sweets

    They aren’t all that bad!”

    But the Food Cop took them all

    And left poor Billy sad

    School was a bore to Billy

    And the only daily joy

    The treats his momma packed for him

    To cheer her little boy.

    The Food Cop would have none of that

    It was her daily task

    To arbitrate on healthy food

    And never ever ask

    A parent for permission

    To confiscate kids’ stuff

    And they didn’t mess with her

    This cop was rough and tough

    Her beat the cafeteria

    She went on the attack

    Policing all those awful eats

    Arresting sweetened snacks.

    And so the kids stopped bringing

    Illegal food to lunch

    Though there were those hooligans

    A lawless, angry bunch

    Who hung out by the swingsets

    And at the school’s bike racks

    Furtively they looked about

    And dug into brown sacks

    To bring forth costly contraband

    To sell to their classmates

    The stuff they didn’t dare, at lunch

    To show upon their plates.

  • georges

    You know I love that organic cooking

    I always ask for more

    And they call me Mr Natural

    On down to the health food store

    I only eat good sea salt

    White sugar don’t touch my lips

    And my friends is always begging me

    To take them on macrobiotic trips

    Yes, they are

    Oh, but at night I stake out my strong box

    That I keep under lock and key

    And I take it off to my closet

    Where nobody else can see

    I open that door so slowly

    Take a peek up north and south

    Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie

    And I pop it in my mouth

    Yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr Natural

    Just as healthy as I can be

    But at night I’m a junk food junkie

    Good lord have pity on me

    Well, at lunchtime you can always find me

    At the Whole Earth Vitamin Bar

    Just sucking on my plain white yogurt

    From my hand thrown pottery jar

    And sippin’ a little hand pressed cider

    With a carrot stick for dessert

    And wiping my face in a natural way

    On the sleeve of my peasant shirt

    Oh, yeah

    Ah, but when that clock strikes midnight

    And I’m all by myself

    I work that combination on my secret hideaway shelf

    And I pull out some Fritos corn chips

    Dr Pepper and an ole Moon Pie

    Then I sit back in glorious expectation

    Of a genuine junk food high

    Oh yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr Natural

    Just as healthy as I can be

    Oh, but at night I’m a junk food junkie

    Good lord have pity on me

    My friends down at the commune

    They think I’m pretty neat

    Oh, I don’t know nothing about arts and crafts

    But I give ’em all something to eat

    I’m a friend to old Euell Gibbons

    And I only eat home grown spice

    I got a John Keats autographed Grecian urn

    Filled up with my brown rice

    Yes, I do

    But…..lately……I have been spotted….

    With a Big Mac on my breath

    Stumbling into a Colonel Sanders

    With a face as white as death

    I’m aftraid someday they’ll find me

    Just stretched out on my bed

    With a handful of Pringles potato chips

    And a Ding Dong by my head

    In the daytime I’m Mr Natural

    Just as healthy as I can be

    But at night I’m a junk food junkie

    Good lord have pity on me

  • kennedy

    I have a first hand experience to add to the conversation. When I started high school, the lunch program was run by the city. Choices were limited, but healthy and cooked on site. After two years, the cafeteria was privatized. The private company was more interested in profit than nutrition. French fries, pizza, and other frozen prepackaged fare came to dominate the menu offerings. As a student, I didn’t quite understand why my parents complained. The new food tasted better.

    In a public school, the responsibility for providing a healthy menu rests with the school board or district. If they outsource the feeding of children, they are still responsible for ensuring good nutrition. It is appropriate for the district to set rules on what food/drink to offer.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Credit should be given where credit is due. The song, “Junk Food Junkie” is by Larry Groce, ©1976.

  • Wally

    To Steve the C. Thanks! I was just getting ready to congratulate Georges on his fine piece. A pox on your plagiarism, Georges, or for your negligence in not crediting the author.

    Wally here wants fellow contributors to know that all my stuff is original, and “The Lunch Police” was written, this morning, just for all of you.

    Let’s keep it original here, folks, or this will break down into the cut-and-paste garbage that kills so many other blogs/comment boards.

    Again, Georges, shame on you!

  • georges

    Now, wally, you do take yourself a bit too seriously. You don’t seem to understand humor at all.

    Were you born without a funny bone?

    That is unfortunate.

    Everyone knows the song Junk Food Junkie. It was a big hit. Like Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road. Also a very funny big hit song. I will post it here someday, for the humor value. When you see it, remember that I did not write it, or claim to. HarHarHar.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Wow! Based on the similarity of the content of their posts, I was half convinced georgesjockamo and Wally were the same individual.

  • georges

    Now, if it is plagiarism that interests you, just check out the only citizen of these United States that has a National Holliday “Day” for his birth.

    He outright stole the works of better men for his doctorial thesis, as well as for other academic writings, then falsified them as his own, and, after receiving a Ph.D. in theology, demanded that everyone address him as “Dr.”, even though he was not a medical doctor, which is the only people we address as Dr.

    You could write a paper on plagiarism, using only the one subject.

  • Steve


    I’m pretty sure that you address anyone with a Ph.D. (also known as a doctorate degree) as Doctor.

    At least all of the professors that I knew in college were addressed as such, since they all had at least a doctorate degree in their respective fields.

  • georges

    As a technical formality, yes.

    In common useage, no.

  • kevins

    Geroges…I have a PhD and am refered to as “Dr”.

  • Kurt Nelson

    I refer to my physician as that, my physician (he is technically a Dr. what with his medical degree, but he is really my physician).

    My friend the Dr, has achieved that prominence by earning his Doctorate in Chemistry, and though he is a Dr. he is not a physician

    The two are different.

    Oh, and sure schools should make healthier food available to students, even by state mandate.

  • Wally

    As usual, we have drifted, from school food to plagiarism.

    Funny bone?! Good grief Georges. If you didn’t you get the humor of MY poem, you’re the humorless one. This isn’t about humor, it’s about recognizing the author of something.

    You say: “Everyone knows the song Junk Food Junkie.” Not I, though I did like Dead Skunk.

    And if you cite my poem somewhere else, tell where you got it. (Though you probably won’t as you evidently didn’t get it.) As a journalist, I’ve been plagiarized, and it’s no fun. And illegal.

    Yeah, and my wife has a Ph.D and is entitled to be called “Dr.”

  • David Poretti

    @ georges…if one has a PhD in medicine, math or monkey business, one is a Dr., and should be addressed as such, if that is their preference. As for TQ: Schools have an obligation to provide healthy foods to our children and to restrict unhealthy foods, and educate our children on the difference. Just as they have an obligation to teach science or math, and not made-up “facts” that drive a hidden agenda. We count on our schools to provide a safe environment for our kids, and healthy foods are part of that equation.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It would be nice, too, if people would cite their sources when they copy and paste talking points from their favorite ideological web sites, but that’s probably too much to ask for.

  • Liza

    and add at least 7 healthy hemp foods:


    Hemp Oil

    Hemp Milk

    Hemp Granola

    Hemp Protein Powder

    Hemp Seed Butter

    Hemp Nuts

    Hemp is the New Flax