YOUR good health is OUR true mission


Junk Food Laws

Posted on 08/14/2012

According to a new study out this week, laws restricting school sales of junk food and sweetened beverages may help play a role in slowing childhood obesity. This study offers the first evidence that such efforts work. It seems to me commonsense that it would help to slow down the rates of childhood obesity, but I guess without actual data all the nay-sayers wanted proof...well, it does work! 

Children in the study gained less weight from fifth to eighth grades if they lived in areas where strong, consistent laws were in place governing snacks availability in school versus those living in areas without any laws.

As obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig from Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital pointed out, "what are the downsides of improving the food environment for children today? You can't get much worse than it already is."

Very good point, Dr. Ludwig, I couldn't have said it any better myself!

Sure, this is adding one more law to the books that is not necessary in my opinion. I favor less government, not more. However, we must do something to slow down obesity rates in this country. Childhood obesity is at absurd levels and unless we do something "major" like adding laws, I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. So, I guess if this works, and it does, why not? Children are getting heavier and heavier and suffering diseases that were once only associated with old age.

I feel it is the parents responsibility to parent and lead by example. Do not eat junk food in your home (or, in your car or elsewhere you consume food), do not buy it, and do not offer it to your children. Children do not have jobs, do not have money unless provided by their parents. So, set a good example, rather than a bad one. I know this is not a popular belief, but I'm not concerned. More than thirty years ago, I was all alone in protesting vending machines in schools. I'm glad to see the tide is slowly changing and now there's evidence it can actually help with the obesity crisis in this country. 

It's not just obese children we need to concern ourselves with, but all children regardless of their BMI. Eating habits are formed at a young age and they last a lifetime. Why set them off on a lifetime of poor eating habits and health?

What astounds me is hearing that schools feed kids junk food throughout the day. Sugar-sweetened juices, colored/flavored milk, popsicles, chips, doughnuts, cookies, cupcakes and the list goes on and on. And, what further shocks me is the celebrations that have turned into a constant flow of unhealthy "food" for kids. This is no "food" by any shape of the definition of nutrition. Birthdays, holidays and made up days to celebrate...why? Celebrations can be -- and should be -- about more than food. Make it educational and fun, don't just revert to a lazy practice of bringing and allowing students to bring junk to school in the name of a celebration, such as a birthday or holiday. Enact a rule restricting such practices, make it a positive experience and a healthy experience.

With all the provisions on what kids can bring to lunch in terms of allergies, why not prohibit bringing junk food to school? It's pretty simple. That is logical, however it seems some schools would rather ignore what is going on...or worse yet, participate in it and encourage unhealthy habits! This not only is bad for their growing bodies, but also their brains and stunts their ability to learn properly. It also sets them up for a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits and possibly for future diseases. Do you want to have that responsibility or liability as a teacher, school principal or parent?

I encourage you to share this blog with every parent, grandparent, teacher and child in your life. If enough people band together and stand up for what is right, we will be heard. 

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And, this week's Dupage County Slim Down Contest results for week #10...266.4 pounds lost to date. You have only 5 more weeks to go. Put forth your very best effort and you will be pleased with the results, I guarantee it!


Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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