On Thursday Sid Miller, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture in Texas said that Texas schools will have their deep fried foods and soda machines back. He claims that this will restore choices for districts since the present guidelines were unable to cut down obesity rates over the past ten years.
Nutrition experts highly criticize this move and express their concern regarding the increase in child obesity rates. There has been a strong debate over the introduction of healthy foods in the US schools and states such as California took steps in this direction and banned sodas from lunchrooms.
The ban of soda machines and food cooked using deep fryers was introduced in public schools such as Texas schools as a way of reducing obesity rates in school children. A large number of studies suggest that this is an effective way of improving obesity rates despite the fact that outside school hours the children can still eat unhealthy food.
This strategy functions because since children eat healthy food at school they may start eating it outside school too because they can realize that there are other delicious options from which you can choose besides deep fired food and soda.
According to Sid Miller the ban of deep fryers and soda machines in Texas schools has led to millions of dollar of food not being eaten, but wasted. By reintroducing unhealthy food in schools Miller wants to put an end to the process of food wasting. Moreover the Commissioner claims that sodas and deep fried foods should be reintroduced in the school menus because children should have the freedom of choice since America is the land of the free.
On Friday the American Heart Association said that Miller’s plan makes no sense especially since surveys indicate that parent are in favor of nutrition standards for school food.
Miller explained that after ten years without soda and deep fried food the results in obesity rates were not significant enough to keep the ban. He made clear the fact that this move does not mean that he promotes the consumption of unhealthy food, but he simply want to offer the children freedom. The new changes will be implemented in the next school year.
According to CDC (the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in 2013 16 percent of children in Texas high schools were obese. This means that the obesity rate is 2 percent higher than the previous decade.
Image Source: Favim