The St. Paul, MN school system is about to adopt a most draconian rule; they are to be "sweet-free zones:"
Debra LaBounty, president of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association, said she believes St. Paul is the only district in the state to institute such a dramatic measure. National nutrition leaders say fewer than a handful of school districts in the country have tried such a thing.
With a nod to their role in reducing the nation's high obesity rate, Minnesota's second-largest school district plans to fully enforce the ban on sweets.
Reminders have been sent to teachers, students and parents that "sweet, sticky, fat-laden [and] salty treats" aren't allowed during the school day, said Jean Ronnei, the district's director of nutrition services.
The move was made this year, four years after the idea was conceived in a new St. Paul schools wellness policy, passed at the recommendation of a panel of parents, teachers, school nurses and administrators.
Using kids as lab rats is right up the alley of these people. Besides:
Opponents say there is little proof such policies work and say it's a school's role to teach -- not force -- students to eat healthy.
Now there's a novel idea; teaching in school. Rather than brainwash and impose adult behavior on 10 year olds, why not have a good old fashioned "Health Class" where stuff like nutrition and healthy eating are taught, not rammed down the throats of children by denying them the simple pleasures of a childhood treat.
A nutritionist at Tufts University nails it:
"Nobody has the money or the will to do the real work it's going to take to get American kids to lose weight," said Jim Tillotson, a professor of nutrition policy at Tufts University.
She underestimates the "will" of these food nazis. Eventually, they will have to criminalize behavior like this in order to achieve their goals. Frog marching 10 year olds off to the slammer sounds impossible but so did "sweet-free zones" a few years ago.
Jacob Sullum at Reason's Hit and Run raises a few other issues:
According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune, the new policy covers food served in cafeterias, food sold in vending machines or at fundraisers, food kept in employees' drawers as rewards for themselves or students, and even food that parents send to school for their children's lunches, which evidently will be subject to searches for contraband snacks and desserts. Food control officials will have to decide thorny issues such as whether an orange counts as a sweet and sticky treat, how much sodium chloride renders a snack "salty," and whether cheese should be banned because of its high fat content or welcomed for its protein and calcium.
Evidently the message is that children's bodies are a collective resource that needs to be managed by agents of the state for their own good and the good of society, regardless of what they or their parents think.