March 3, 2006


Schools to ban fizzy drinks and chocolate (Alexandra Blair and Tony Halpin, 3/03/06, Times of London)

SCHOOLS will be banned from selling junk food and told to give pupils seeds and yoghurt drinks in moves to tackle child obesity.

Parents will also be issued with guidelines on food high in fat and sugar which should not be included in their children’s packed lunches.

Nuts, seeds and yoghurt drinks will replace crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks in tuck shops, after-school clubs and vending machines, say the draft guidelines issued yesterday by the government-appointed School Food Trust (SFT).

The laws to wean children off sweets and chocolate will be among the toughest in the world and will take fizzy sugary drinks off the menu, as well as diet and sport drinks and flavoured waters.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2006 7:53 AM


Since I last took you on on this subject I chaperoned a school ski trip and was completely bowled over and appalled by what many of the kids ate. Not just junk, but a constant stream of it. I think I'm a convert, although still against non-human surveillance.

But what's with the seeds and nuts? Are we so stupid as to think the kids will cooperate if we make them eat like squirrels?

Posted by: Peter B at March 3, 2006 8:04 AM

My mind-control experiment begins to pay dividends....

Posted by: oj at March 3, 2006 8:09 AM

Peter B - I'm no fan of govt bureaucracy but like you I have been appalled at what kids eat.

It is hard to control what kids eat, especially outside the house. But I have noticed that when we dramatically cut back on the chips/soda/deserts purchased during the weekly grocery run the kids adjusted and ate whatever was available.

Posted by: AWW at March 3, 2006 8:11 AM

Uh, I believe yogurt drinks contain the same or more overall calories than sugared soft drinks do. It can be healthful, but I doubt you're going to convince kids to drink the plain non-fat variety which means a trade of (some) of the sugars for fat.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 3, 2006 8:56 AM

In the end, kids will follow what they learn at home. If they eat well-balanced, tasty, nutritional meals at home, it matters little what they eat at school or on a ski trip or in an after school snack bar. Who among us hasn't strayed from the course of healthy eating on the nonce. Yesterday a friend and I, two seventy-something women, had hot fudge sundaes for lunch.

Trust me, what your kids learn at home really does sink in and will be reflected as they begin to make life decisions as adults. Give them the freedom and the responsibility of your trust and they won't disappoint you.

By all means, take the junk food out of the school dining rooms and vending machines, but please no surveillance, electronic or otherwise.

Posted by: erp at March 3, 2006 9:25 AM

Not true for me erp

My parents were health nuts but as a kid I ate like an oompa-loompa every day at school. After I bought my first car I'd tell my parents I was going to the library and I'd head straight for Taco BEll every day after dinner.

Posted by: Shelton at March 3, 2006 9:36 AM


Obviously you have a spirtual defect only a lifetime in a monastery could cure. Preferably one with lots of seeds and nuts.

Posted by: Peter B at March 3, 2006 9:50 AM

What amuses me about the whole effort is that it is countered by the instant rise of a student-based "black market" of candy contraband. Apparently some young entrepreneurs are doing quite well.

Posted by: TIGPresto at March 3, 2006 9:56 AM

Beef Jerkey and Ovaltine will quench the need
for candy. It's my sons favorite.

Posted by: J.H. at March 3, 2006 10:01 AM

All of a sudden, since going to kindergarten, my five year old is telling me about the food pyramid and how this or that juice is not healthy and about how fat is bad for you and so forth. Funny how they give her more treats and snacks at school throughout the day than we ever allow at home.

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at March 3, 2006 10:38 AM

What the heck is "flavoured water"?

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at March 3, 2006 10:52 AM

ERP, how did we ever survive without vending machines in school?

Shelton, what's wrong with Taco Bell? I love it.

Posted by: Genecis at March 3, 2006 10:52 AM


But you sneak them calcium & vitamins.

Posted by: oj at March 3, 2006 12:09 PM


That's a suburban legend bandied about by libertarians who just don't think kids should eat healthy.

Posted by: oj at March 3, 2006 12:37 PM

That's a suburban legend bandied about by libertarians who just don't think kids should eat healthy.

Perhaps, but I remember every member of the band toting around boxes of chocolate bars for fundraising. 'Course, the main thing we wanted was the free DQ Hungerbuster coupon on the wrapper. Later on, it seems M&M/Mars got into the action with their fundraising packages... Mmmmmm... Big box of Peanut M&M's and Dr. Pepper...

Posted by: TIGPresto at March 3, 2006 12:46 PM

The real problem with obesity in the young is too many calories taken in and too few utilized for physical activities. Adults have exactly the same problem, too much in too little out.
What ought to be encouraged is more exercise not the food police.

Posted by: morry at March 3, 2006 1:13 PM

Yes, it's about training the kids. Here's what Boy One snacks on when he gets home. I have to tell him "don't eat the whole bag at one sitting" or it will be gone.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 3, 2006 1:20 PM


Now that looks tasty. There is a superb Japanese market near my client in Schaumburg (IL). I'll look for those. The Japanese have all sorts of snack foods that look odd to us baka gaijin.


That's what the Parmigiano Reggiano is for at our house!

Posted by: Rick T. at March 3, 2006 3:20 PM


They aren't mutually exclusive.

Posted by: oj at March 3, 2006 3:57 PM

As someone who somehow made it through public school eating only the boring and generic cafeteria food, and drinking only water from hall fountains, I'm still amazed that there are vending machines in schools at all, regardless of what they contain. And reports that many schools allow kids to eat and drink in class astound me as well.

Posted by: PapayaSF at March 3, 2006 4:05 PM

there is no excuse for fat kids or fat dogs.

Posted by: toe at March 3, 2006 5:04 PM

The law to children:
You drank fizzy sugary drinks. You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing. You lose. Good day sir.

Posted by: Kevin Bowman at March 3, 2006 6:01 PM

Sheesh! Much ado about less than nothing. They used to sell penny candy at lunch hour at St. Rose. Guess Sister Florelle is burning in Hell. That money could have ransomed more "pagan babies".

Posted by: jdkelly at March 3, 2006 6:32 PM

Shelton, Are you still eating like a teenager? If you aren't, it did work for you. It just took a little longer.

Posted by: erp at March 3, 2006 6:54 PM

Gen, in our day there was no such thing as a teenager. That's why we couldn't wait to grow up. Oh how we suffered...

Posted by: erp at March 3, 2006 7:00 PM

AOG. I have a good mind to sic the cops on you. Feeding squid to an innocent child ??? What are you thinking?

Posted by: erp at March 3, 2006 7:07 PM

Speaking as one of the fat kids from school days, I'd read these articles about the epidemic of childhood obesity with hope and then cynicism. Because while I looked around for all the other kids to take the attention off me, all I saw were skinny ones. Where are these 50% of kids who are significantly overweight? Did they congregate somewhere and upset the ratios where I lived? Because I was mostly on my own.

Posted by: RC at March 4, 2006 10:11 AM