On Feb. 1, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed new standards to improve the healthiness of school food. Though reaction to the standards has been mixed, it’s clear that school food should be strongly regulated so students can learn about healthy lifestyles.
Statistics show that food served at schools across America is not up to the standards of a healthy diet. The USDA has made strides to improve the quality of school lunches, yet many schools still sell junk food in vending machines and at snack bars.
The new “Smart Snacks in Schools” rules combat this problem by setting calorie limits for snacks and banning the sale of sugary candy, sodas and high-fat foods.
Peter Phan, a junior at Irvine High School, supports regulation. According to Phan, “Parents and students have faith in the food served at schools. They want to believe that what the school is serving is nutritious for the students.”
Of course, other students object. Ashley Kim, a junior at University High School, said, “Students should be able to choose what foods they want to eat. When they go into the real world, they will need to choose what foods to eat themselves.”
Schools have an obligation, however, to educate students about healthy choices. This is especially true for elementary students, who are not fully aware of their health.
Other students don’t have nutritious options at home because their parents lack the resources to provide nutritious meals. Their children deserve to be served healthy food at school. In order to perform to their full abilities, these students need adequate food.
Nutrition is a problem in the US as a whole, not just in schools. With an obesity rate of 30.6% and rising, we should take action to promote a healthy society. These new regulations can help.