Boo Hoo, Mountain Dew!


Schools in Centerville, Ohio, have yanked the super-sweetened, super-caffeinated, antifreeze-resembling Mountain Dew from the grubby clutches of their ADHD-ridden little monsters, er, students. Gone too are other Pepsi soda products. In their place are "noncarbonated drinks like water and Gatorade" reports the Dayton Daily News.

Centerville city schools are trying to put better health on the plate by weaning students from soda pop.

The move, part of a national trend, marks a shift from a 1990s-era love affair with soda pop giants, who showered school systems with big bucks for inking exclusive contracts.

The Centerville school board opted to can soda in high school vending machines and lunch lines this year. It's also considering bagging junk food like candy and chips.

Centerville's soda ban follows similar moves by districts in New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. A California state law banning the sale of soda and junk food in all public elementary schools takes effect next year. As critics focus on rising obesity rates, the sweet taste of soda bucks seems to be fading.

A couple of observations:

First, Centerville is not banning kids from bringing soda to school. That bit of freedom is good but it also points to how useless this sort of ban is if its real point is to turn would-be adolescent porkers into mini-Schwarzeneggers. Nnot that the sort of thing should be the focus of public schools that already suck at teaching math and reading.

Second, one of the few things that got me and my schoolmates through the days at good ol' St. Mary's grammar school 30 years ago was precisely the gloriously overstocked candy counter in the dreary cafeteria. After quaffing a half-pint of cheap orange brink that could instantly induce a diabetic coma in anyone over 20, we would pony up nickels and dimes for everything from Lemonheads to Mike & Ike to five varieties of Turkish Taffy to a full range of Now & Laters to Mary Janes to Sugar Daddys to Black Cows to Sugar Babies to Atomic Fireballs to you name it. Some of us got fat, some of us got skinny, and most of us got cavities.

But the larger point is that what's for lunch in schools is hardly the motive force behind society-wide trends in weight. Given that, it's unlikely that anything schools do will reverse them. School boards would be serving their students better by focusing more on their core function, education, preferably by creating more competition among themselves. And by spending less time on things like soda and candy bans.

[Link courtesy Free-Market.Net]