This is a concern of mine at school. When I hear of all the junk food that schools are selling to children it infuriates me. Teachers complain about students behavior but meanwhile the school is selling sugar filled junk to the kids at lunchtime. Many kids are getting too much sugar in their breakfast cereal and then getting more at lunch. They get wired up and that is when teachers complain about their behavior. It is a vicious circle. I mentioned to my children’s school last year that they should sell healthy snacks instead of the junk they sell. I was told that they tried that a couple years back (before we attended) and parents were calling to complain. They said that their children were coming home complaining. They asked the school to bring the junk food back. Makes me wonder about the mental stability of these mothers. There are some schools out there that are trying but most just don’t care. Here is one article I found on the subject.
Schools Peddling Junk Food to Kids
By David Nakamura
Through contracts with soft drink companies and other vendors, some schools are raising as much as $100,000 a year, money that pays for such things as computer rewiring, teacher training and Black History Month activities.
Read the fine print of those contracts, though, and the costs start to sink in: One school in Prince George’s County guaranteed sales of 4,500 cases of soda a year — or about 50 sodas a student.
Some contracts state that schools could lose money if they turn off the machines at lunchtime, as required by state and federal law.
The biggest cost, some parents and health advocates say, is the health risk to students in a system that gives schools a financial interest in selling them more snacks.
One recent study linked soft drinks to childhood obesity, and others point to tooth decay and caffeine dependence — findings that the soda industry disputes.-
The U.S. Agriculture Department delivered a stinging report to Congress last month recommending that all snacks sold in schools meet the federal government’s nutritional standards.
“One of the biggest challenges school meal program managers face is the competition with foods that are marketed to children through multimillion-dollar, glitzy and sophisticated advertising campaigns,” the report stated.
The explosion of vending machines in public schools is a relatively new phenomenon.
As recently as a decade ago, such machines were uncommon on campus. But as principals and PTAs began to recognize the potential payoff of vending revenue during a time of increasingly tight school budgets, the number grew quickly.
Increasingly, school districts are signing exclusive deals with one soda company or vendor. Charles County, for instance, signed a 10-year, $1.75 million deal last year to sell only Coke products in its schools.
Some communities, though, have fought against the proliferation of snack machines in schools. In Philadelphia last year, parent activists successfully blocked a proposed 10-year, $43 million deal between the school system and Coca-Cola. Last week, the New York Board of Education settled a 1999 class-action lawsuit brought by parents. An agreement was reached that schools can sell only nutritious snacks during lunch hour.
In exchange, Blair promised to place a minimum of 18 soft drink machines throughout the school and ensure that the student population remained above 2,100. The machines are on all day, despite a federal law prohibiting schools from selling such products during lunch hours and a Maryland law prohibiting schools from turning on vending machines until after the final lunch period.
Small wonder. The contract contains a clause that reads: “If the Board of Education actively enforces the policy in which vending machines are turned off during the school day, the commission guarantee will be suspended.”
To many parents, the vending machine contracts are a necessary evil. But these are the parents who are clueless about the importance of diet as it relates to health.
Washington Post February 27, 2001;