In July 20’s Daily Herald (Utah Valley), reporter Ace Stryker gives these infuriating statistics from a 2006 study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where my home state of Utah leads the nation in these categories:
83 percent of Utah schools are selling chocolate in vending/school stores
40 percent nationwide
76 percent of Utah school offer fatty, salty snacks
47 percent nationwide
86 percent of Utah schools offer students soda and other sugary drinks
65 percent nationwide
As usual, Utah, with its strict liquor control laws, seems to overcompensate for that strictness by being ridiculously lax regarding other unhealthy habits: sugar and junk food. Just because we don’t drink and smoke doesn’t mean we’re healthy, and at a minimum, we should be teaching our children good habits.
Making money at the expense of our children’s health by selling them foods guaranteed to make them ill and fat is criminal. And my own experience showing support for anti-junk-vending bills in the Utah legislature has been that our legislators haven’t historically cared about this issue. Every bill has been defeated.
Several years ago, I wrote letters to the editor of the Herald for its ridiculous stance on a bill (to be defeated) limiting junk food vending in public schools. The editorial editor had written a ludicrous op-ed piece making, among others, these arguments against the bill (and he was being serious, not facetious):
(1) We shouldn’t limit junk food consumption by kids because the teachers themselves eats loads of junk, so we wouln’t want to be hypocrites.
(2) Not all the ingredients in junk food is bad–for instance, corn. And peanuts.
More tomorrow about the reaction of school districts, as quoted by the Daily Herald. Please sign this GreenSmoothieGirl petition to Utah’s legislators and school officials, and encourage health-minded friends to do so, too!