Maybe Schools Don't Control What Kids Eat

Bans on soda and "junk food" in public schools, while less objectionable than policies aimed at adults, have always struck me as symbolic. Since what kids eat (not to mention how much energy they expend) is determined by so many factors other than what's available at school, it seems unrealistic to expect that getting rid of vending machines selling candy bars, potato chips, and sugary drinks will have a noticeable impact on their diets or waistlines. Last fall a study reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reinforced that skeptical view, finding that state bans on sugar-sweetened beverages in middle schools "appear to reduce in-school access and purchasing" but "do not reduce overall consumption." Now a new study in Sociology of Education finds that "children's weight gain between fifth and eighth grades was not associated with the introduction or the duration of exposure to competitive food [i.e., snack] sales in middle school." As The New York Times puts it, "No matter how the researchers looked at the data, they could find no correlation at all between obesity and attending a school where sweets and salty snacks were available." The lead author of the study tells the Times "food preferences are established early in life," so "this problem of childhood obesity cannot be placed solely in the hands of schools." That observation might lead to greater respect for parental authority, or it might lead to increased interference by government-appointed experts. Which do you think is more likely?

[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]

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  • ||

    Enjoy this kick in the nuts.*

    Or whatever you call your ladyparts.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    When the red lights turn on, I'll know its time to shake the scene.

  • Gojira||

    So what, they're just going to go around shining a red light on every black person they see?

  • Paul||

    ." That observation might lead to greater respect for parental authority, or it might lead to increased interference by government-appointed experts. Which do you think is more likely?

    I choose B.

    Regulate harder, not smarter.

  • ||

    NEEDS MOAR REGULASHUN

  • wareagle||

    when one of the choices is increased govt interference, is there really another choice to be considered?

  • Newt Gingrich||

    Parents who feed kids salty and sugary foods should be arrested by the U.S. Marshals and incarcerated in the same prison with those federal judges who refuse to explain their opinions. Then they should be put to death, like those who import marijuana.

    Damn, but I'm an Ideas Guy!

  • Newt Gingrich||

    Mitt Romney should disclose whether he added salt to his lunch at Bain Capital.

  • ||

    You know that he did. Probably imported salt, too.

  • fish||

    Probably imported salt, too.

    Probably imported French salt! Elitist bastard.

  • ||

    It's Kerry all over again!

  • Restoras||

    New York State has been collecting student BMI data for a few years.
    http://www.health.ny.gov/press.....orting.htm

    It will be interesting to see what the state does once it has collected what it deems is enough data - nevermind that BMI is a BS indicator.

  • ¢||

    Do they still have those commie-style loudspeakers in the backs of cabs, for the mayor and people from Scorsese movies to demand your obedience to the City through?

    They can take those out, cram 'em up the boojangs of every at risk mother-to-be, and have Bloomberg and Joe Pesci recite HFCS conspiracy tracts and their favorite passages from On the Juche Idea to every future-fatty fetus.

    (I'm giving them ideas.)

  • Tony||

    Having to look at fat people all day is tantamount to assault. Clearly there is a government role, though these measures seem to be ineffective given the fact that people learn to be fatasses long before they enter middle school. Thanks ConAgra!

  • fish||

    Clearly there is a government role...

    You're right! Maybe another food pyramid! Cause that was based on first rate government science.

  • Number 2||

    I prefer the Food Trapezoid.

  • ||

    Newcular Titties, with his technophilia and generally advanced intellect, will be soon proposing a food hypercube.

  • Restoras||

    Well clearly that food pyramid was created with the help of campaign dollars from BigFood. If only the right people had been in charge.

  • fish||

    I join Restoras and Tony in their call for "TOP MEN" to remedy the problem.

  • fish||

    Oops sorry Tony. I forgot that Top Men has a different meaning for you.

  • Tony||

    I never did like fish.

  • fish||

    I'll try to get over that. Kinda want to sing Gloria Gaynor tunes right now!

  • Restoras||

    Careful, the Top. Men. will make you eat it to keep you waistline nice and trim.

  • wareagle||

    as always, Tony, you are consistent. It is ConAgra's fault that a generation of kids never moves or sweats during the school day, spends much of their idle time parked in front of monitors, attends schools that do not have regular phys ed, routinely get 20 minutes for lunch (to include time from class and back), and frequently requires remedial work in college.

    All that is the fault of a food company that has nothing to do with education; yet those actually in the ed biz are held harmless. Does liberal logic require a suspension of common sense along with disbelief?

  • Tony||

    If you're advocating an activist role of government to mandate more exercise and discourage unhealthy eating, you're barking up the right tree.

    We're a fat country because of cheap calorically dense food and an infrastructure that discourages even a modest amount of walking. You can lay blame where you want, there's plenty to go around.

    Other countries are getting fatter too: most rapidly in people just above the poverty line.

    Liberal logic compels me to think of obesity as an epidemic just as serious as a more acute one like tuberculosis. Most everyone thinks there should be a government role in preventing or mitigating the latter.

    I gather, though, that to teabagging fuckfaces, being grossly obese and costing me money with their heart disease and diabetes is "freedom."

  • fish||

  • fish||

    Hmmm? Wonder where the last rebuttal went?

    No matter.

    Liberal logic compels me to think of obesity as an epidemic just as serious as a more acute one like tuberculosis. Most everyone thinks there should be a government role in preventing or mitigating the latter.

    Liberal logic? Please you're killing me!

    And do get back to me when you can show conclusive proof that coughing towards someone will make them obese.

    PS: How's that daily walk from Tulsa to Norman working out for you? Doing wonders for the old waistline?

  • Restoras||

    Much, not all, obesity is caused by poor personal choice. Is tuberculosis? Cholera? Small pox? Obesity is therefore not a "health epidemic" - that's just liberal coding for more control over people's lives.

    I have a thought regarding the overweight people that are costing you money with thier heart disease and diabetes. Maybe they should pay a premium over those that are not obese to have health insurance. Then they can choose to eat themselves to death and suffer the consequences of thier bad decisions, all without the interference of your Top. Men.

  • Tony||

    How can a population-wide increase in obesity over a period of decades be attributable to personal choice? People suddenly became much less personally responsible over the last 30 years?

    The problem with the modern libertarian is his refusal to accept advances in behavioral science. The solutions are all the same, so no need to study the actual causes of anything, and the more that can be attributed to a fanciful and outdated notion of individual agency, the better.

  • wareagle||

    People suddenly became much less personally responsible over the last 30 years?
    ----------------------------------
    yes, Tony, because liberalism has spent 30 years telling people the predictable results of their bad choices were not their fault. It was someone else's fault when an 18 year was also a mother of three. It is someone else's fault that a kid drops out of school and becomes a corner dealer.

    The cause of weight gain is nothing new. Nor is the solution. And neither requires much of anything from govt.

  • Tony||

    Now it's liberalism's fault--since the dominant political paradigm of the last 30 years has been liberalism, after all. WTF?

    I can more plausibly blame Republican corporatism for letting a corporate food culture metastasize unchecked over this period.

    Bad personal choices are almost totally irrelevant. If we're all such free agents there should be no such obvious trendline.

  • wareagle||

    bad personal choices are absolutely relevant. They comprise the sum total of the discussion. Weight gain is no mystery. People don't need lessons in how to prevent getting fat. Yet, they choose to anyway.

    Smoking is a similar personal choice; watch a movie pre-1970 and everyone is lighting up...today, far fewer people do so. Same with drunk driving; a generation ago, it was semi-funny to say that "the car must have driven itself home". Today, it is socially unacceptable.

  • Restoras||

    I can more plausibly blame Republican corporatism for letting a corporate food culture metastasize unchecked over this period

    That didn't take long. I'm sure that none of your precious, principled Democrats/Liberals had anything to do with it - never took campaign donations, etc., etc.

  • fish||

    How can a population-wide increase in obesity over a period of decades be attributable to personal choice?

    It can't! But ...and I'm sure this is mere coincidence...the goverment pushing of carbohydrates as the "healthy choice" over fats and protein certainly had nothing to do with Chubby America!

  • Restoras||

    I dropped 30 pounds and kept it off by changing my diet. If I can do it most anyone can.

    People are able to make a lot more choices in the past 30 years than the prior 30 - not all of them good. Why is that a hard concept to understand?

    What advances in behavioral science are you talking about - I must admit it sounds intriguing but you don't provide anything concrete and then just launch into an attack on libertarians. I know this is your schtick but it's absurd, especially in this case.

    Causes - like cheaper food? Well less people are going hungry so that's a good thing, right? More leisure time - again, a good thing, right? What else?

  • Tony||

    Several recent studies seem to show that dieting almost never works--only the truly vigilant can keep weight off long-term once they've gotten fat, and that's like 1% of those who try or something.

    All I'm saying is it's a huge issue and doing nothing about it and expecting people to spontaneously decide en masse to resist environmental pressures to become fat, or the libertarian proposal, will have pretty much expected results.

  • wareagle||

    it is not the role of govt to dictate what and how much people eat. Diet and exercise works for anyone willing to make the lifestyle change. Gimmicks do not work and neither does diet alone. No says being fat is a good thing but it is not the role of a govt that is already mismanaging its mandated responsibility to get even more involved in people's lives.

    Societal change happens slowly. It did with regard to race, it has with regard to orientation, took a while for smoking rates to decrease, and this will also take time. Believing govt can impact the time-to-resolution of something is even worse than thinking govt can solve the problem period.

  • Tony||

    Okay, so what guarantees society will naturally move in the right direction rather than continuing current trends? What makes them change? Spontaneous mass personal responsibility? When's that gonna happen?

    If you think it's a problem worth solving, doing something rather than nothing is your only option.

  • Tony||

    And it's absurd to claim that government played no role in decreasing smoking and drunk driving rates.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "what guarantees society will naturally move in the right direction"

    Survival. It is the only "right direction".

  • wareagle||

    I'm not advocating a govt role for anything beyond common sense. The death of PE curiously coincides with the expansion of waistlines. But let's pretend it's all McDonald's fault.

    Obesity is NOT an epidemic; it is largely a self-inflicted condition born of bad personal choices. On the other hand, malaria will likely reach epidemic proportion and we can thank liberals for that as they are the ones who banned DDT, which has eradicated that disease.

    I suspect a lot of "fuckfaces" here would be okay with the lardasses paying higher health premiums, like smokers do. If you choose to fuck up your health, at least have the courtesy to do it on your dime.

  • Tony||

    I doubt the death of PE is the single causal factor here, when there are so many to choose from: processed and fast foods, car culture, more interesting things to do with one's time than throw clumps of mud around...

    It's a huge problem with no easy solution... but it is every bit a health issue as a contagious disease, and should be considered among the deadliest of all time considering obesity's body count.

  • wareagle||

    If nothing else, the burning of excess energy also promotes learning since it calms them down a bit so they can focus. Instead, schools choose to drug children.

    Yes, there are plenty of causes, ALL of them the result of personal choices. None requires the heavy hand of govt to get involved.

  • Tony||

    But you're not gonna hold your breath waiting for everyone to spontaneously start making good choices, right?

  • wareagle||

    it took a generation for drunk driving to become unacceptable and it was not because of DUI tickets. It took at least as long for smoking rates to come down. Both drinking and smoking involve personal choice; in each instance, there has been positive change. The same applies to diet. It will not be instant; people are basically lazy. But most prefer living to the alternative.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Does liberal logic require a suspension of common sense along with disbelief?

    It most certainly does not, Tony is a special case. A veritable well spring of derp, if you will.

  • fish||

    The lead author of the study tells the Times "food preferences" are established early in life

    Bullshit! Tastes change throughout the course of your life. Stuff you loved as a kid frequently turns your stomach when you're older.

    Sounds like somebody is angling for a new grant!

  • ||

    I fucking hated collard greens, blackeyed peas and okra as a kid, but I love them now.

    That lead author is full of shit.

  • fish||

    You couldn't get me to eat Cauliflower, Broccoli, Spinach....you know all those things that will keep me alive long enough to help bankrupt Pelosicare...at gunpoint.

  • Restoras||

    Not to mention things that tasted terrible when you were a kid now taste great. Like beer, for instance.

  • fish||

    THREADWINNER!

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...no correlation at all between obesity and attending a school where ... salty snacks were available.

    WTF does salt have to do with weight gain? Water retention?

  • Restoras||

    Nothing - except that salty snacks make me crave more beer.

  • fish||

    Totally off topic! When do you suppose these will become mandatory?

    http://www.gizmag.com/scosche-.....nes/21192/

  • Restoras||

    I'd sure love if they were mandatory in elevators.

  • Loki||

    ...greater respect for parental authority, or it might lead to increased interference by government-appointed experts. Which do you think is more likely?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say the latter. The busybodies would love to be able to tell parents what kind of food to feed their children (not to mention themselves). Under threat of social services "interveneing on the childs behalf", of course. See, they can even make forcibly removing children from their parents sound innocuous.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Other than the owners of junk food making money, why are libertarians against a school board, elected by the towns-people, from banning junk food for their own children in their own community.

    This is why libertarians are against nutritional labels and even ingredient lists...because they are afraid that these people would lose money?

    I'm becoming more and more against libertarian Ideas. I'd rather a company be forced to list the ingredients than me having to sue them later.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "they are afraid that these people would lose money"

    Who the fuck ever said that, pissshit?

    "why are libertarians against a school board, elected by the towns-people, from banning junk food for their own children"

    Because democracy is gay and busybody ignorant school board cunts can never determine what is best for the individual.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Fuck off, slaver.

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