Schools say no to sugary foods

Are schools on the right track by eliminating sugar? A recent trend among schools declaring themselves “sugar-free” has some experts wondering if that’s the best approach. By eliminating sugar-laden foods such as cookies, candy, sweet drinks, or even birthday treats, some schools have reported improved performance and fewer disciplinary actions among their students. But is this sending kids the right message?

The childhood obesity epidemic cannot be conquered by removing sugar from our children’s diets. A healthy lifestyle requires both physical activity and a healthy diet. Daily physical activity is essential, yet some of these same schools have had to reduce or eliminate recess and physical education classes. And having cupcakes in class on someone’s birthday shouldn’t necessarily be prohibited, as it teaches children about moderation when eating. In order to make healthful choices turn into lifelong habits, kids need practice, and it’s equally important to have moderation, physical activity, and well-balanced meals as parts of the equation.

With pressure from reduced budgets forcing schools to enter into contracts with commercial food and vending companies, it can be hard for a child to avoid making unhealthy choices. However, while schools try to find a solution that allows them to promote health and physical activity within their limited budgets, parents can encourage good habits at home, hopefully resulting in their children making the right choices when presented with unhealthy options.