Home >> At Home >> Parent >> Education World At Home

Search form

Home > At Home > Archives > Parents > Parents

Introducing The EdWorld Parent Blog

(Continued from EdWorld At Home)

Welcome to a weekly blog by Yours Truly, the EdWorld Parent. I hope this blogs for you. It might be for you IF ~

  • you are a parent who cares a lot about education,
  • maybe a homeschooling parent,
  • or maybe an education professional who knows that a kids life outside school is an important factor in his or her education.

In fact, in my real life secret identity (when Im not being the Super-Blogger EdWorld Parent) ... I have been all three of those things: A parent, a homeschooling parent, and an education professional, including being the editor of the venerated Weekly Reader.

Im going to say a few things and link to a few things, discuss what Ive posted on the Hey, Kids side of the Education World At Home page (see below), and hope you respond: Without you, its not a blog. Well see what happens.

EdWorld Parent Blog #12
May 18, 2005

The EdWorld Parent BLOG: The Battle over Junk Food in School!

Do you think junk food should be banned from schools? Share your opinion!

If you think the "discussions" you have with your kids in the supermarket about candy and cereal and soda might be called "arguments," well, the fights over junk food in schools are full-scale conflicts, with parents, educators, attorneys, and food industry PR people swarming around the schools like an epic battle scene from The Lord of the Rings.

One problem we parents face, in addition to trying to influence our kids' attitudes toward junk food, is having a good definition of "junk food" in the first place. This page from the Victorian provincial government in Australia offers a pretty good definition and fleshes it out (excuse the pun) with some strong examples. Basically, food is "junk" food if its displacement from a person's diet of other foods risks causing that person nutritional deficiencies or if the inclusion of too much "junk" food (on top of an otherwise sound diet) leads to obesity.

In other words, nobody would call a gourmet pastry "junk food," but if all you ate was crème broulé, or if you ate a pound of it a day, you'd have a problem, and it would become, no matter how well made, "junk."

Now, most of us outgrow what Jerry Seinfeld characterized as the overwhelming childhood drive to "get candy, get candy, get candy," but, let's face it, given a choice between butterscotch and broccoli, most kids are still going for the one that's bad for their teeth, not the one that looks funny when stuck in the teeth.

This makes kids the prime market for "candy, candy, candy," whether that means candy itself or just "candy" foods like soda and chips. Since that market is legally required to be in one place every day – school – the companies that make and market "candy" foods have spent a lot of money trying to reach into the schoolhouse.

And, given parents' already difficult fight against "junk" food in the supermarket, you can understand why many communities, even states, and now even our federal government and governments in other countries have reacted against that marketing effort and have enacted or expanded legal bans on "junk" food in schools, or are considering doing so.

No Junk Food is a California Web site dedicated to replacing "junk" food in schools with more nutritious food. Commercial Alert, an organization that takes on advertising that they say exploits children, has a page that urges "Stop the Sale of Junk Food to Schoolchildren," which includes a link to legislation introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy. There is also a Canadian effort to rid schools of junk food. Arizona has passed legislation, though apparently soda industry efforts were sufficient to stop similar legislation in Oregon. An overview of the controversy is available on "AlterNet." A more detailed look at where things are in various states, legislatively, on the issue specifically of Vending Machines in Schools, is available on the Web site of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Just for a slightly weird experience, take a look also at Junk Food News. This is simply a site, as far as I can tell, that just loves junk food and celebrates it with industry news and with pictures of world-record junk food: the biggest hot dog, the biggest portion of fish & chips, etc.

Do you have problems with junk food and your kids? Do you have any experience with the issue of junk food in schools? Write to the EdWorld Parent and share your thoughts!

Education World®
Copyright © 2005 Education World

Back to EducationWorld At Home main page