The junk food saga...

[deleted account] ( 56 moms have responded )

In the leafy surrounds of Kerrisdale, an old-money enclave on Vancouver’s west side, Point Grey Secondary School is losing the junk food war.

Two years ago the student cafeteria revamped its menu to meet British Columbia’s new food regulations for schools. Salads now have reduced-sodium dressing, cookies contain less sugar and potatoes are baked, not fried.
More related to this story


But when the lunch bell rings, Point Grey students swarm to the neighbouring McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Frankies Candy Bar, and Flying Wedge, where $3.50 buys a “student combo” of a pizza slice and pop that add up to 900 calories.

Healthier cafeteria fare, such as a $3.50 low-fat chicken wrap, can’t compete, says Glenn Canuel, co-owner of Canuel Caterers, the private company in charge of the school’s food services.

Cafeteria sales at Point Grey have dipped 30 per cent since the province tightened its food rules in 2008, Mr. Canuel says. Now that B.C. schools can no longer sell junk food, “kids are going off campus for it.”

Across Canada, school catering companies are reporting sales losses of 10 to 30 per cent in many regions where candy bars, soft drinks and deep-fried foods have been banned. Schools that share profits from food sales are also taking a hit.

After a decade of nutrition crusaders pushing for healthier food choices, the fight against childhood obesity is more daunting than ever. One in four Canadian children is overweight or obese. From coast to coast, doctors and dietitians are sounding the alarm about the rising health costs that a dangerously overweight country will have to bear. In September, provincial and territorial health ministers – in tandem with federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq – released a framework for action on childhood obesity.

But it may be that students have been left out of the loop, in the rush to educate schools, parent groups and private caterers about new food legislation, says Julie Stephenson, a registered dietitian and food services manager for Surrey School District in British Columbia.

“Students don’t know why things have changed,” she says.

At the provincial level, nutrition standards that eliminate trans fats and reduce sugar and sodium in foods sold in schools are a patchwork effort. Food guidelines are mandatory in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Quebec has prohibited the sale of deep-fried foods and soft drinks on high-school grounds. In Ontario, schools face a deadline of September, 2011, to comply with the province’s new school food and beverage policy.

Other provinces and territories have voluntary standards except the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, which lack formal guidelines.

Schools in British Columbia have made “significant progress” in offering healthy food and beverage choices, according to a review earlier this year by the B.C. Ministry of Education.

But healthy food choices have had unintended consequences. Gas stations and convenience stores are cashing in on students’ discontent, Ms. Stephenson says. “We see local corner stores converting so that they can provide pizza.”

Poor cafeteria sales forced Chartwells Canada, the country’s largest high-school catering operation, to pull out of about a dozen schools in New Brunswick. The losses are due to declining enrolment and stricter food rules, Chartwells president Ross Munro says. “We’re telling 18-year-old kids what they’re going to eat – think about it.”

Despite the exodus from cafeterias, dietitians including Ms. Stephenson support the trend toward school nutrition legislation.

Schools have a responsibility to educate children about nutrition and provide healthy food choices, says Janice MacDonald, communications director for Dietitians of Canada. Ideally, Canada would have national guidelines, she says.

Ms. MacDonald adds that obesity has many causes, included sedentary lifestyles and aggressive marketing of unhealthy foods to children. “We can’t depend on schools to be the complete or only solution.”

Children get hooked on junk food by eating frozen dinners and take-out meals at home, says Paul Finkelstein, a culinary arts teacher at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School in Ontario. A surprising number of kids have cash in their pockets to spend on chips and chocolate bars, he points out. “I blame the parents.”

Role-modelling can go both ways, however. When children learn to prepare dishes such as moussaka at the Screaming Avocado – the café Mr. Finkelstein runs as part of his culinary arts program – many students convince their parents to provide healthier foods at home, he says.

A growing number of teacher-run cafeterias are getting creative. Some school districts have a local Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef who drove junk food out of British schools. Teens are learning to cook from scratch in more than a dozen high-school teaching cafeterias in British Columbia, and Farm to School programs inspired by the locavore movement are taking root across Canada.

As cafeterias get better at developing appealing recipes that comply with provincial standards, students’ palates will adapt to eating less salt, sugar and fat, dietitians say.

Tomorrow’s high-school freshmen won’t remember the deep-frying days, says Donna Bottrell, director of nutrition for Chartwells.

“We see the glimmer of hope in the elementary schools,” she says. “These are going to be different kids.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/heal...



_______________________________________


Any thoughts? Do you think that educating children about food should be the school's responsibility? What do you think is the best way to get children to eat healthier foods?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Johnny - posted on 10/05/2010

8,686

26

318

Well, funny thing, this is MY highschool. Grad '94, GO GREYHOUNDS! I've got to laugh my ass off at the "leafy surrounds of Kerrisdale, an old-money enclave" part though. Too funny. Ah, there's reality and then there is what shows up in the newspaper.

Well, when I went to high school there, it was exactly the same. There have never been any regulations about leaving the school property during breaks in Vancouver high schools, and I don't think, aside from getting junk food, that it's ever been an issue.

When I went there, the cafeteria served terrible crap. People rarely ate there. Greasy fries, those nachos with the fake cheese that you can get at 7-Eleven, chocolate bars. Nothing but junk. And it smelled like old gym socks.

So because the cafeteria food sucked, we always went out. Down the street to McDonalds, across to 7-Eleven and Subway. I ate more meatball subs than any human should ever have digested. And back then, we even had soda pop in the vending machines. I had a Coke at every recess on my way to my locker. We all ate junk in school and out.

My family still lives around there. You do see kids in 7-Eleven & McDonalds. But you see way more running out for sushi or a nice sandwich at the new deli (don't go there between 12 & 12:30, the line is killer). I went for lunch with my dad one day during my mat leave at the mediterrnean place and I saw tons of kids noshing on homous and tabbouleh salads. To me, it actually looks like they are eating BETTER than when I went there. At least they have better choices.

I've got to suspect that even though they are forced to serve "healthy" food in the cafeteria now, that it probably still tastes terrible and smells like gym socks. I'd wager that this isn't really about kids eating junk but is really about the cafeteria contractor hoping for a captive audience for his slop.

And this is NOT a school with an obesity problem. In fact, it's a little bit the opposite. This is just not a place where you see very many obese kids at all, if any. The majority of the school population is Asian (Chinese mostly) and while they may be eating lots of junk like other kids in North America, their waistlines show no evidence of it.

Lastly, I really don't think educating them on it will make all that much difference. When I was there, they taught healthy eating and nutrition in home economics, which we all had to take. It didn't matter, we didn't WANT to eat what the adults wanted us to eat. We wanted to be cool and hang-out outside 7-Eleven.

Johnny - posted on 10/06/2010

8,686

26

318

Not the case here at all. Wow, that's really something. No, until they are on school property and school starts, unless otherwise arranged through a before & after school program, they are the parent's responsibility. The school would only be liable if it happen on school time or on school property (including a school bus). If a parent wants their teenager to be supervised before or after school or during the lunch hour off school property, they would have to arrange that (and incur a great deal of teasing on their teen from the other kids).

Johnny - posted on 10/05/2010

8,686

26

318

That's good. Our elementary schools have that policy too, and as far as I know, they have been really successful keeping the junk out of the schools.

I need to make it clear that these are high school kids we're talking about, over age 12/13 that can leave school property. I think if they want to run away or something, they could probably find other occasions to do so. If the kids don't show up at class after lunch, the admin is alerted, the parents are called, etc. So it is not as if they are completely unmonitored. It actually happened to my girlfriend last week. Her son decided for the first time to skip school with his friend. She'd heard about it at work by 1:20 and had him tracked down, being picked up by his dad by 1:30. It's not like they're running around without people keeping track of them. But they are on the road to adulthood. It's the proper time for them to learn responsibility and how to show up for class on time. These are teens, not little kids.

I've never heard parents from here requesting or discussing keeping high school kids in lockdown. I'm not sure it would even occur to most people as something that should be done.

Danielle - posted on 10/05/2010

142

24

2

Ok, I need to ask a question-after being in athletics right before lunch in the heat of the day (it's Texas), you burn a crap load of calories right? Which is great, except that say, you didn't have a good breakfast, and you don't want to hit the mid-afternoon slump (about 1:30/2pm) just in time for that test in Algebra, and guess what? After school you have more practice, so what are we supposed to do? I graduated from HS 3 years ago and even then they were making our portions smaller and making the food "healthier". I hated it. Our 30 min lunch was never enough time because it took 5 min to gt there, at least 10 min to wait in line, and they "pulled" everyone 5 min before the bell so that we could be in class on time...so let's add that up shall we? 5+10+5=20, so we had 10 minutes to eat! On top of that, we never got enough calories because it was "healthier". Now there IS a difference between eating 4 cookies and nothing else, but c'mon people! They stopped making sweet tea, stopped serving anything fried, any pizza-which actually can be healthy if prepared right-our literall 2 inch in diameter burgers were on weat buns and I'm pretty sure the "meat" was made from soy. Not many calories=not a lot of energy. Yes we should eat better...but most of the people who were less healthy just brought food from home. This didn't solve anything! Oh, and our health class did have lessons over eating healthy. I'm sorry but I don't think anything is getting solved this way. Unless you want to ban kids from bringing food (which means you would need to figure out a way for some of those kids to afford paying for lunch) then ease up a little.
Oh something else, along with the lessons on eating healthy, Texas students must have at LEAST 1-2 credits of PE/Athletics. But obesity is on the rise right and the SCHOOLS need to do something about it? Hmmm I wonder why students in athletics keep passing out and/or getting hurt? It's the parent responsibility, not the schools. If they decide not to teach their children about how to eat the right foods, and how much, that's their problem. I know that sometimes I wanted something besides a salad after running for 30 min, I wanted some REAL FOOD daggumit lol.

[deleted account]

I didn't read the whole article...it was long. But why are kid leaving school grounds? Make that against the rules and you have a solution.

And nutrition and cooking classes are a fabulous idea. Along with financial and parenting classes, but that's a different topic.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

56 Comments

View replies by

Caitlin - posted on 10/08/2010

1,915

5

171

On the eating habits note, a month or two ago, I had given my daughter a 1/4 piece of cupcake for desert along with some blueberries and rasberries (fresh picked - mm, so good). We were at the stage of teaching her to eat everything on her plate before asking for more. SHe finished off the berries in what seemed like seconds, and asked for more and I uttered words I never thought I would "Finish your cupcake, then you can have more fruit.." *sigh* She loves the chocolate cupcakes, but she loves fruit so much more!

[deleted account]

At the high school I went to only Yr 13s were allowed to leave the school grounds during school time. All the other students wore uniform so it was easy to spot those children who weren't supposed to be out and about. I don't know if that's standard at all schools though but I would assume that only the 15 year olds and above would be allowed to leave, if at all.

But to the original question, I think it's the primary responsibility for learning about food is the parents but with secondary support from the schools. I don't think all unhealthy food should be banned because that's just not life. I think we should be teaching kids everything in moderation. Enjoy the junk food just don't have it all the time. I also think that we need to be teaching them this stuff young. If a little kid starts out eating mostly fruit and veg, they'll continue that way. That's what I plan to do with my daughter anyways.

Isobel - posted on 10/07/2010

9,849

0

282

yeah...that too...



the subway thing is different though, because she lives a 3 minute walk from the station and will have been riding the subway every day for years before it happens :)

[deleted account]

Yeah, I've never even thought about the possibility of leaving school during the school day until this very debate. No one has ever complained about it. And I do lean towards free range, but more in the middle. I don't know how laws work in Canada, but according what what Carol said earlier, liability laws are stricter. Here, if ANYTHING happens to a kid during the school day, the school is responsible. A kid breaks his arm because he was being an idiot by leaning back in the chair? Schools' fault. A kid gets hit by a car walking home from school? School's fault. The rules that the schools set are about covering their butts from a lawsuit. I think THAT is what is wrong with society.

Sherri - posted on 10/07/2010

9,593

15

387

Caitlin we only have a 1% crime rating and our kids are not allowed. We live in the country. However, our laws are different here and the school can not let a child out of its site during the school day for liability reasons.

Sherri - posted on 10/07/2010

9,593

15

387

Yup that is where our society's significantly differ. Also where are you going to go when there is nothing within a 5mi radius to go too? Also we have no public transportation where I live. We have no subways, no public buses only school buses which pick up my kids in front of my house and in front of every child's house. I think a cab may be as close to public transportation as you are going to get.

You can not send a child out to walk 8+ miles across a highway to get to school everyday. So our society's are forced to be very different that is just logistics.

Although I have to say I don't think at 10 or 11 yrs old my child would ever be allowed to take a subway by themselves(if we had one). I wouldn't take the subway by myself at 38 no way I would allow my child too. Although I have never been had public transportation in my whole life. I wouldn't be able to figure it all out if you paid me. God knows where I would end up. The blessings of living in the country you get there by car or not at all.

Caitlin - posted on 10/07/2010

1,915

5

171

I guess it depends on where you are from and the crime rates and such. Around here it's really not bad, even in Montreal when I lived there, it wasn't bad.. Some places really aren't that kid friendly.

Isobel - posted on 10/07/2010

9,849

0

282

well...I think locking a teenager up and not allowing them to walk across a street without grown up accompaniment is part of what is VERY VERY wrong with society.

Old enough to work, old enough to babysit, old enough to walk to 7-11...but I guess that's just my opinion...I'm a free-range parent, and plan on teaching my kids to be able to take the subway to and from school by grade 6.

Sherri - posted on 10/07/2010

9,593

15

387

My kids don't know any different so they have no problem with it and neither do any of the other kids.

Isobel - posted on 10/07/2010

9,849

0

282

That's three different Canadian cities (I'm in Toronto)...I wonder if it happens anywhere in Canada...I doubt it though, because of the different viewpoint of responsibility and liability.



I'm TOTALLY gonna use that on my kids though when they're older and complaining about school ;P "be grateful! you could go to a school that's on permanent lock down!"

Caitlin - posted on 10/07/2010

1,915

5

171

I went to 2 different public high schools in Quebec, one in Montreal and one in a relatively rural area, and for both, we were allowed to leave the property as long as we were back on time. There were kids who ditched, but in my first school that got them suspended (first offence) and expelled second. The second school I went to it was demerits, and suspension once you lost all your points.

This is one of the times i'm glad my daughter has food allergies - she wont be able to eat out or even eat the cafeteria food, and it will force us to teach her at a very young age what is in food, and how to read labels, and how to make your own food. My younger one will most likely follow along too at least until high school. SO far I have the slimmest 2 year old i've seen around this area (not bragging) but her resitricted diet does cut out a lot of fats, so i'm picturing her as being a tiny little gymnast or something, and hopefully she will avoid my thunder thigs..

Johnny - posted on 10/06/2010

8,686

26

318

And I shouldn't speak for all of Canada. These are generally provincial regulations, education here is a provincial responsibility. Other things differ by school district. Our ability to sue people is not anything like yours in the states though, our liability laws are far more limited.

[deleted account]

That's true. Technically, from the time a kids leaves their property until they return, they are the school's responsibility. Maybe that's not the case it Canada. But it's a huge liability issue here.

Sherri - posted on 10/06/2010

9,593

15

387

The school would be liable though if crossing the street one of those kids got hit by a car. It is more about school liability issues.

Johnny - posted on 10/06/2010

8,686

26

318

Well, that makes complete sense Sara. Here, our elementary school is literally next door. So a bus would be ridiculous and driving would be idiotic. It would take more time to get the kids in and out of the car than it would take to walk them. Our neighborhood is dense, so there are hardly any people living more than a 10 minute walk from the school, if that. The highschool is about a 40 minute walk. Most kids do it in the afternoon and take the city bus in the morning. The high school close to us is about a kilometre from the nearest fast food places, so not many kids have the time to run out at lunch time. As far as I understand, most kids stay on campus there, although it's not a rule. At my high school where I went, the all the restaurants are literally across the street. You could probably get a Big Mac quicker than something from the cafeteria in the school, which is unfortunate.

I do think it depends where you live, although my husband did go to school in a very rural area and his niece and nephew attend now. There have never been any "on campus only" rules there either. But there's no where to go unless you've got a car, so no one bothers to leave. I guess I just find it odd to have a rule about it for high school kids. I do understand the practical implications of urban vs. suburban vs. rural, but I still can't see the need for a rule. I somehow doubt that having a rule like that really prevents kids who decide that they are going to leave from doing so. When a teen wants to skip school or runaway, a rule isn't going to make a difference. They already know they'll be in trouble anyway.

Sherri - posted on 10/06/2010

9,593

15

387

Sara our areas sound very similar and I would bet more than anything those are the reasons.

[deleted account]

I live in the neighborhood where our local elementary school is located. My daughter will be walking. BUT 95% of the kids are bussed to the school. I do live in a suburb, but our schools support some of the outlying rural areas we are surrounded by. Plus the town is big (as in area, not population, about 10 miles radius) and a major state highway runs through the middle of town. No way I'd allow an elementary aged child to walk across or along this highway. So if you allow those that live within walking distance of the school to go home for lunch, that's not fair to the large majority of the students. Oh, and the fast food restaurants are all located on the major busy intersection about 2 miles from the school. Hmmm...not wanting my daughter to walk there alone.



Now, the high school is in the neighborhood across the highway from my neighborhood. I'd allow my daughter to cross the highway at that age. But then you still have all the kids coming from the outlying areas. Still not fair to allow some of the student population that lives nearby to leave, and not the others. The large majority would still be stuck. Plus, allowing 1,000 high school students to walk 2 miles to the cluster of 4 fast food chains, get their food, and walk back would take much longer than the allotted time for lunch.



Here and I'm assuming where Sherri lives, not allowing kids to leave is about practicality. I don't worry about something happening to my daughter in our town. But allowing the kids to leave is not practical. And like I said previously, many of the schools in the city are surrounded by crime. In those schools, keep in kids in, and monitor everyone that tries to come onto campus! And yes, there have been incidents on school grounds where someone came in from the outside and harmed a student.



Plus, precious class time and administrator's time is not wasted when a student decides to not return to school.



I'm sure the system of allowing kids to leave works just fine in many places. But it wouldn't be feasible here.

Sherri - posted on 10/06/2010

9,593

15

387

I don't know Cat but our school is about 8mi away. So I doubt you would be walking anyways they would have to take the bus. Every student in our school system has school bus service.

Cat - posted on 10/06/2010

193

34

11

The only part I dont get is the no walking to school... I guess I'm glad I live somewhere I CAN walk the kids to school, cuz I dont have a license (and dont intend to get one) so what would I do when I cant drive my kids but we're too close to be bused? I dont get the no walking thing at all, walking is good for kids, less cars on the road driving short distances is good for the environment, so, win win lol As for leaving school during lunch, I have no idea what the policies are here, but back where I went to school, you could leave and go anywhere... I used to go home for lunch more often than not, but occasionally I'd go for pizza or something else if I had the $$ I agree that healthy eating begins at home, but a diet of moderation is a good idea over denial of all treats/fast food... Example, my mom outlawed sugary cereal, and white bread... moving out on my own, and even now, I find myself drawn to those things, b/c it was taboo growing up... I think if you teach your kids to eat things in moderation, that their diet and health will be better overall...

Sherri - posted on 10/05/2010

9,593

15

387

I know we are talking about HS (our HS kids start HS at 14)and it is that way for our HS kids as well. HS students can not leave school once they arrive in the morning without being signed out by a parent. I believe all schools in our state are the same way. Even when I was in HS it was the same way we couldn't leave school at lunch. You must eat lunch in the cafeteria monitored by staff and then they return back to classes. All have different time periods for lunch so some go at 11am and some not until 1:30pm.

Sherri - posted on 10/05/2010

9,593

15

387

If a child where to run away, get hurt etc. Well since we have a no junk policy and any junk food brought in to the school is confiscated it seen I would imagine so. Also no junk is ever served in our school lunches. Only drink machines in the schools are water only. So I would guess the kids are eating quite healthy at least for lunches.

Johnny - posted on 10/05/2010

8,686

26

318

Well, we're fine then. We've got sidewalks, lol.

I'm not sure what safety or legal reasons you are concerned about if your crime rate is so low? I find this a bit confusing. Does keeping the kids locked in the school lead them to eat less junk?

Sherri - posted on 10/05/2010

9,593

15

387

Actually our crime rate here is 1% so no we have almost no crime!! I am thankful for rules such as these, but actually any school where I live you are not allowed to leave campus for pure safety or legal reasons for the school.

We don't have sidewalks there is positively no where these kids can go within walking distance. I want to know that when I drop my child off daily they are in school not wondering the streets at lunch time etc. No way!! We are all very protective of our children and I don't allow my kids off my street without an adult present so I am thrilled the schools feel the same way.

Johnny - posted on 10/05/2010

8,686

26

318

It has never been like that here Sherri. I'm not sure about other parts of Canada, but in British Columbia public schools, kids can walk to & from school independently, and are encouraged to do so actively (unless it's way too far). Many kids walk to school alone starting in about grade 4. I remember walking to & from school starting when I was about 8 years old.

We are also allowed to leave when we choose starting in high school. (Grade 8 in Vancouver). It's always been that way. I guess your very small rural town is pretty dangerous or crazily paranoid. We've never needed or wanted rules like that here. I can not think of a case where there has been a problem with this policy.

Sherri - posted on 10/05/2010

9,593

15

387

The learning should begin at home. If you live what you preach children will typically make better decisions. Make McDonalds a treat not a staple.

Also students should not be allowed to leave campus once they are at school for the day. Our kids are not allowed to leave at all during the school day unless signed out by a parent.

No Laura the kids must eat in the cafeteria, they are not allowed out of the school without teachers anytime ever during the day EVER!! That is the way I want it my kids are NEVER without adult supervision and I totally expect it to be that way at school as well. They couldn't walk anywhere anyways because it is not walking distance to anything. The nearest fast food restaurant is probably close to 8mi away. No I don't allow my kids to leave my property without an adult ever and they are 13 & 12 but we are in a very small town. They can not walk to ANYTHING!! The nearest mall or movie theater is a 20min drive.

Jodi in Elementary School the kids can NOT walk to school you have to be driven or take the bus. They must eat inside the school for lunch and get outside recess time with the teachers present for 30mins.

In Middle School - Students still can NOT walk to school and must be bussed or driven by parents. Students can NOT leave campus EVER during the day. They must eat lunch in the cafeteria and there is a no junk policy. Our students are not allowed to bring ANY junk into the school, if they are caught with cakes, candies etc. they are confiscated by the teachers.

High School is same as middle school except they are able to walk if they are close enough and seniors can drive to school. Other than that all rules above apply.

If any student wishes to leave school or Campus EVER they must be signed out by a parent. That includes all after school activities as well they will not release a student until a parent is there physically to get them. For school dances and activities parents must go into the school and get there children. We go to these lengths and this is a very small rural town.

[deleted account]

There is a difference between good-for-you high calorie food and bad-for-you high calorie food. I agree with the no fried foods and limiting sugar. Those foods aren't going to do much in nurturing athletes, just like low-calories are not helping them.

I do agree that lunch needs to be made longer. It's the same here. At the school I taught at, lunch and recess combined was 35 minutes. 12 classes had to get through the line, sit down and eat, and have time to play in that amount of time. Ridiculous indeed.

Allison - posted on 10/05/2010

433

51

38

PS I also lived in a small town, so leaving school wasn't a problem. It was only allowed at lunch, but we could do it at other times without too much trouble, too, to run errands for the teacher or if our work was done and they gave us permission :) However, I think they changed the rules there now, and bring food in for lunch.

Allison - posted on 10/05/2010

433

51

38

One thing I find interesting is that many people assume it will be hard to get kids to eat healthy. I ate junk food growing up, because I really didn't know better and that seemed to be the only thing around. Our school didn't have a cafeteria; we had to bring lunch or leave to go to a pizza place or gas station for lunch. But once I learned better, I gradually made the switch, and definitely noticed that I felt better! Now I am a healthy eating advocate to anyone who will listen!!! And I've found that many kids have no problem switching to healthier foods if you explain it to them, and then make something GOOD that is healthy :) My SIL remarked that her son probably wouldn't eat all the whole grain stuff I made him when he came to visit, and he gobbled it up :) So I think we should give kids more credit - they learn what we teach them, and they like to eat food that tastes good, of course! I like the comment about students taking healthy food recipes home to their parents - I think this would happen a lot if more schools taught this type of cooking/nutrition. Kids LOVE to tell their parents what to do!!!



But I think EVERYONE should pitch in and help teach (and demonstrate) healthy eating - primarily the parents, but also the school is a good place for this, and as many parents aren't very proactive, there are a large number of kids who wouldn't learn much at all without the schools. I wish people would stop selling the junk, but they won't do that until AFTER people STOP buying it. So I think it has to start with education, not regulation.

Jodi - posted on 10/05/2010

26,062

36

3891

It's just against the law for school kids to wander out of school grounds without parental permission here. Unless they are 18. When I was 18 I wrote my own permission slip.....but prior to that, I had to have one from my parents, and then a pass from the school. It works the same at my son's school. It has nothing to do with the neighbourhood, it just is. I guess I take it for granted.

Isobel - posted on 10/05/2010

9,849

0

282

ahhh...yes, that would explain it. I've always lived in pretty safe urban settings with malls, restaurants, and homes all nestled right close to the schools.

[deleted account]

Laura, I guess if you live in a nice city where kids are safe walking to the shopping center and their homes, it wouldn't be a big deal.

But around here most kids don't live within walking distance of their schools. A large portion of the city schools are surrounded by crime. And those that go to the rural schools can't get to their home and back to school during the time allotted for lunch.

We just live in totally different cultures. The idea of leaving school during school hours is appalling to me. But I suppose in certain situations it would work.

Isobel - posted on 10/05/2010

9,849

0

282

Our malls are crammed with kids in uniforms...and what about the kids that eat at home? are THEY not allowed to leave the property...this is truly perplexing to me, as I have never encountered even the notion before...interesting.

Jodi - posted on 10/05/2010

26,062

36

3891

"how do they keep 15 and 16 year olds inside during lunch hours? do they not let them outside in the yard? do they guard the grounds to keep them in? Even at my kids' school, after school they just let them leave after grade 2."



School uniforms, LOL. My kids' schools have uniform, and the teachers DO patrol the local shopping centres. The uniforms stand out like dogs balls. Getting caught means demerits, too many demerits can result in suspension or even expulsion.



It's not just the junk food issue, it's the fact that these kids are underage and the school is responsible for them during school hours.

[deleted account]

I think educating children is a good thing, but it will only have a limited effect. The problem with providing healthy choices on the menu is that kids will still be kids no matter how well educated they are on nutrition. At my sons school they offer healthy options, but they still have too much crap on the menu and I know he won't choose salad over fries if given the choice. I send him with his own packed lunch because I'm not prepared to risk him eating all that junk on a regular basis. The only way to make them eat healthy school lunches is stop them having junk food as an option and stop them leaving the school grounds at lunchtime. If they did those things I might consider school lunches as an option. Even then it will only have limited benefits for children who eat nothing but junk at home.

Dawn - posted on 10/05/2010

832

13

163

Food education should be taught at home and in the schools. IMO it makes no sense to get rid of junk food in the schools when they have access to it outside of school. This is a worldwide problem that is getting worse but what really is the solution?? I say start big by making more nutritious foods less expensive and more attainable. I recently read an article that pointed out all the breaks beef farms get, when vegetable farms get much, much less. People go to McDonalds first because it is easier and cheaper (in the short run) than making a meal at home. There is still an increasing trend of obesity, yet in the last decade or so, there is more education available than one can absorb. And, since we can't tell McDonalds they can no longer be in business, we need to make more serious changes. Regarding school, when I was in elementery school there were no junk food options, that was available starting in middle school and then througout high school. We never had the freedom of off-campus lunch, but we did have an open-campus in highschool which made it very easy to skip a period or two of class (most always history in my case!!). I now live in FL and most highschools here, the students are allowed to have lunch off campus.

Alison - posted on 10/05/2010

2,753

20

466

I did whatever I wanted with my lunch hour when I was in highschool. I ate at school, at McDonald's at home or at my friends house. The answer is obviously not to lock the kids up.

If my kids were earning their own money (like I was as a teenager), I would not forbid them to spend it on junk food (that was my motivation for my first job at age 10). If I am paying for their lunch, I will expect them to eat healthy stuff most of the time.

[deleted account]

We always had to eat in the cafeteria, but once we were done, we had certain areas of the school (inside and out) where we could go.

Isobel - posted on 10/05/2010

9,849

0

282

how do they keep 15 and 16 year olds inside during lunch hours? do they not let them outside in the yard? do they guard the grounds to keep them in? Even at my kids' school, after school they just let them leave after grade 2.

[deleted account]

I'm in the southern United States. In the city south of me, maybe kids aren't allowed to leave for safety reasons. In my town and the communities I'm surrounded by, maybe kids aren't allowed to leave because it's rural and there's no where to go. We had detentions for skipping class (in the rule book), but I don't ever recall anyone doing that. Kids would skip an entire day, but no one would just ever leave once they got there.

[deleted account]

Where are you from Sara? I went to school in Quebec so it might be different. I know it differs from school to school in that province. My school had very strict rules and skipping classes would get you detention, parents were warned and we were denied further privileges to leave the grounds. Some would also have to do "community service" within the school...

Let's say that we rarely skipped because the consequences SUCKED.

As far as the public High School rules... they would skip and their parents would get a call but that's it...

[deleted account]

But then couldn't kids buy the school lunch to please the parents, throw it away, then leave to get junk? There's ways around that too.

I'm just shocked that schools let kids leave. That's a big liability. Never heard of it. Never been in a school that does it. So I'm coming at this from a different background. Not one of "kids shouldn't be allowed to make choices", but one of "how is it safe to allow kids to roam around town during school hours?"

Yes I agree that students need to make the healthy choice to truly learn how to eat right. That forcing kids to eat right is not necessarily the solution. My high school had 4 lunch choices. The hot lunch line, pizza, hamburgers, or salad bar. And the cafeteria could control the amount of fat, sodium that was put into the "junk" food.

Alison - posted on 10/05/2010

2,753

20

466

Sure, parents SHOULD educate their children on good nutrition, but obviously that is not happening on the scale it needs to happen, so the state SHOULD step in. I think taking junk food out of the schools makes sense 100%, even if half of the kids are going to McDonald's to get their fix. I think the learning cafeterias are a GREAT idea! I think confining the students to the school ground is asking for trouble and not treating the problem at the root.

I would propose meal coupons or a cash card, so parents can ensure that their children are buying their lunch at school and not somewhere else.

[deleted account]

But then wouldn't allowing kids to leave campus increase skipping class? It would certainly make it easier. If education is first, we need to make sure they are in school. I've seriously never heard of being allowed to leave school.

Isobel - posted on 10/05/2010

9,849

0

282

High school students are free to come and go as they please where I live ...now that I come to think of it, so are the junior high students...from grade 7 on.

[deleted account]

We had restrictions in grade school as to being able to leave school grounds... After that, I was in a private school which also had restrictions according to grade and parental permission. However, the public school next to ours did not have any restrictions.

We did have the junk food in the school however and I know I am guilty of going for that since the cafeteria food was often inedible. I think restricting kids from leaving the grounds could be effective but I think the main concern is education first, restrictions later.

I would like my kids to know how to eat wherever they go not only being forced to eat healthy...

Jodi - posted on 10/05/2010

26,062

36

3891

In Australia, the kids aren't allowed to leave the school grounds without parental permission.......in fact my son's school even has teachers patrolling the local shopping centres to make sure this is complied with. So that means, kids either eat what their parents pack in their lunches, or eat from the school canteen, which is mostly foods baked from scratch. Most schools here have canteens which must comply with certain health criteria.

How prevalent is it that kids are permitted to leave the schoolgrounds at lunchtime in other countries?

Isobel - posted on 10/05/2010

9,849

0

282

so I guess next we place limitations on how close fast food places can be to schools...I'm down with that.

[deleted account]

I think children need to learn how to read labels very early on and participate in the cooking as well. the schools should definitely have a part in the education as I believe that learning to cook is a great skill and often will lead students to eat better.

However, I think the main responsibility still falls on the parents. We make it a point at home that the kids help me with the meals and know what to look for on labels. My oldest step-son has been labeled "ADHD" and really benefits from cutting out sugars and all food coloring. Both older boys know how to spot these ingredients in anything and they know how to cook basic items (eggs, boil water, etc..). We cook a lot from scratch. they are quite puzzled when they look at the label for "Kraft Dinner" and see tons of ingredients they've never heard of and can't pronounce now that they know how to make mac& cheese from scratch..

Hopefully they will grow up to make healthy choices because they KNOW what they are eating.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms