Society likes to defer responsibility to other people. McDonald’s was responsible for hot coffee and for someone’s obesity. There often seems to be cries to improve school food.
I am, of course, a strong advocate of improving school lunches, but for me the lessons for healthy eating begin at home and begin early. Think about this—by the time a child begins kindergarten their eating habits are well established. And by whom?
You guessed it. The responsibility for a child’s eating habits lies 100% squarely on the shoulders of the parents. In my opinion, the school should make attempts to reinforce the good habits set up by the parents. I have come to understand that school nutrition departments (Chandler Unified School District in particular) try to implement better options, but acceptance by students can be low. Again—this is because these kids have likely not been exposed to things like whole grains and healthier foods at home.
Why the diatribe? This particular study looks at what happens when elementary schools reduced acces to sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) from the school. The results are disappointing. Overall, it is clear that, as a result of the removal, the purchase of SSB in the schools dropped significantly.
Here’s the kicker.
SSB consumption overall did not change. Why? Blame it on the parents. It is obvious that parents have SSB at home. Given the contribution of SSB to childhood obesity this is obviously a problem we need to wake up from.