May 18 2012
The $15,000 Soda
A Utah school has been fined $15,000 for accidently leaving a vending machine that contained sodas operational during the lunch hour (federal law requires soda-dispening vending machines to be turned off). The Blaze covers the story and points out the absurdity of the ban:
Davis High School Principal Dee Burton said that the law is disingenuous. For example, while students can’t buy soda, they can buy sugar-loaded sports drinks and even Snickers bars because they contain, you guessed it, nuts. In addition, students can buy soda earlier in the day before the machines get turned off and drink it during lunch.
And simple economics is at play, too. The ban isn’t forcing students to stop drinking or eating the sugar-laced food and drink. It’s just driving them to places where they can get it.
“The misconception is if we don’t let kids buy candy and pop, we drive them to the cafeteria, it doesn’t drive them to the cafeteria it drives them off campus,” Burton told KUTV.
One commenter on the KUTV website picked up on that.
“The principal is right, the kids will leave campus. What are you going to do? Close Walmart and Quick Trip for 47 minutes every day?” the commenter wrote.
It's outrageous that the federal government is controlling how local schools manage the machinery inside their buildings. But there's another reason people should be disgusted by this story and by all government efforts to control what we and our kids eat--these anti-obesitiy efforts just don't work!
A study released late last year by the University of Chicago found that taking soda machines out of schools hasn't cut the amount of soda kids are drinking and it's done exactly zero to reduce childhood obesity rates. Another study conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and published in the January 2012 issue of Sociology of Education, found weight gain among school children has nothing to do with the soda machines or sugary drinks kids can purchase at school. Using weight data from 20,000 children, the study found that while the majority of the children attended schools that sold “junk” food, there was no rise in the percentage of students who were overweight or obese. In fact, despite the increased availability of junk food, the percentage of students who were overweight or obese actually decreased from fifth grade to eighth grade, from 39.1 percent to 35.4 percent.