Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Junk Food Ban in London School: Sensible or Stalinist

There's been a growing push in the UK for healthy school dinners (lunches), publicly endorsed by celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver. Growing obesity, in children particularly, has sparked this response for healthier eating agendas in schools.

One East London school committed to this agenda has taken things a step further; junk food is being confiscated by teachers in an attempt to encourage healthy eating. See

What are the no no's? Candy, chocolate, soda and other carbonated drinks and full-fat crisps (ie potato chips etc). Persistent offenders risk having their food confiscated.

I'm an advocate of healthy eating. If I had children, I would welcome healthier food in schools and would pack balanced, healthy lunches. But doesn't it seem a little nuts that parents are "not allowed" to send their kids off to school with a jaffa cake, or even a small snack sized kit-kat?

At the same time, why oppose a rule that has the children's health at heart. After cries for healthier culinary offers, is it hypocritical to complain about a school that is proactively enforcing this standard for all students? Maybe this step will encourage parents to instill healthier eating habits in the home.

But does the school have a right to tell parents what to feed their children? There are many other unhealthy food options that children could be bringing to school (pork pies, sausage rolls, hot cross buns etc.) Is this a slippery slope with future bans on the way?

I'm not sure where I stand on this one. It seems a step too far for me but I believe in its principle. Maybe I'm rebelling against the stifling of parental autonomy and sometimes overly regulatory culture of today?

Thoughts anyone?

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