What to do with School Vending Machines

I recently read an article written by Ron Nixon of the New York Times.  His article discussed the government’s attempt to reduce childhood obesity by moving from the school cafeteria to the vending machines.  You can read the entire article HERE

My thoughts on this particular issue are non political however, the nature of our country today it will become a political issue much like everything else.  Some will say that it is not the governments responsibility to regulate what our kids eat out of school vending machines or vending machines in general.  Some will argue that it IS the government’s responsibility to ensure that our children are provided every opportunity to proper nourishment.  Who is right and who is wrong?

First some facts.  It is estimated that our kids eat about 60% of their calories in school.  Our healthcare system is spending $150 billion a year treating obesity-related illnesses.  Back in February 2009, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum to create the first-ever federal task force to provide “optimal coordination” between private sector companies, not-for-profits, agencies within the government and other organizations to address the problem of childhood obesity.

Our children are our most important asset.  They are the “next” generation and if they are following our lead when it comes to nutrition, we are all in a LOT of trouble.  Our adult population with regards to obesity is skyrocketing out of control and if our children follow suit, the epidemic will reach a health care crisis that we as a county are simply not equipped to deal with.  There is only so much money.

At issue here is whether schools should be providing healthy snack items in school vending machines.  Also at issue here is the idea that selling candy and cookies as fundraisers is contributing to the overall problem.  Don’t even get me started on Girl Scout Cookies.  I am all about supporting the Girl Scouts, in fact I do.  But I simply give a monetary donation.  I am not saying you can’t or shouldn’t have a cookie or two, but come on, I remember when I was significantly overweight that I would think of nothing about eating an entire box!!!  Schools say that with out the candy and cookies sales they won’t make the money they need to provide for school programs and other organizational programs.  Again, I find this to be a crap argument.  If the community wants to support the school programs or organizational programs they will regardless of what the product being offered is.

We mandate that our children get educated.  WE ensure they go to school every single day.  WE ensure that they do their homework and hopefully get good enough grades to get into college and succeed in life.  We all want our children to succeed.  Yet, when it comes to food, we (this is very generalized here as I know not everyone does this) allow them to eat a lot more junk and crap than we should.  Mine do as well and I really can’t stand it.  BUT, they do so in moderation AND they are all great fruit and vegetable eaters so I am not all that worried.

All I want is for schools to provide the opportunity for children to eat healthier, in the end it still comes down to individual decisions that are made by our kids and how we lead them to those decisions.  Our children look up to us as role models and if we all start to make better choices, they will have be bound to make the same great choices.

As always, I look forward to reading your opinions on this.  We can all agree to disagree if need be, I am simply stating how I personally feel as a taxpayer and as a person who is going to end up paying for all the problems that the obesity problem is going to affect in the years to come.

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One thought on “What to do with School Vending Machines”

  1. I agree with you…it seems to me that it all comes down to the almighty dollar. When walking thru some of the mega sized grocery stores, I become overwhelmed by the amount of marketing dollars that are spent on stuff manufacturers call food. I would bet that most aisles could be eliminated from the stores if people actually cared about what they put in their grocery carts. Things sure have changed since I worked in a small local market/grocery store as a teenager. (30+ years ago)

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