Should schools restrict access to junk food?

What's happening in our readers' forum.
July 26 2006 8:39 PM

Chocolate Barred

Should schools restrict access to junk food?

Using one school's attempt to ban chocolate as a case study in the futility of "market suppression," Tim Harford's article opened up a classic conservative/liberal divide, with questions of personal choice vs. government intervention dominating The Undercover Economist Fray.

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FBH echoes many readers in calling for more parental involvement. Father of two daughters, Ripley bemoans the bad nutritional choices induced by government-subsized lunch programs. Also a frustrated parent, Dayenu laments how "schools peddle this junk and then demand that we control our children if we don't want them to eat it… Meanwhile, they're suggesting that young kids, whose impulse-control skills when it comes to eating should hardly be expected to rival those of adults, should walk past junk food… How about paying a bit more, charging a bit more, and serving good, healthful hot lunches?"

Wary of yet more regulation headed her way, katbsd promises "during the next school year to take even more time away from teaching math to check lunches, snacks, and lockers for contraband candy!"

Of banning chocolate, AshleyMiller says "if the school systems are smart, they will focus more on nutritional education rather than ban sweets…just because candy is available does not mean that a person has to eat it."

As a matter of precision, RPC points out that there is a difference "between 'banning' something and not selling something. Should schools ban chocolate? I don't think so. If parents choose to send their kids in with chocolate, so be it. Should schools sell chocolate? No. But that is not a 'ban.' "

For his part, run75441 questions the implicit equivalence between the commodities Snickers = Chuckles = Heroin??? discussed in Harford's article.

texasman1 takes a more libertarian approach and moreover admires the entrepreneurial spirit of the young boy selling banned candies to his classmates. What could be more American than that? AC ... 5:38pm PDT

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Ross Douthat's appraisal of M. Night Shyamalan's directing career to date stirred up passions both for and against in Culturebox.

Sledgeh101 thinks Douthat, "in trying to defend M. Night's post-6th Sense movies, is trying a little too hard to see the silver lining in the blackening clouds." Read additional commentary here.

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