I would agree that Americans and especially kids have a growing problem with obesity, and the main culprit is a bad diet. Americans eat too much junk and little if any whole natural food. But at the same time, I definitely don’t want our government mandating what we should and shouldn’t eat even if their mandated food choices were better. That is not the Constitutional role of our government, and it would inevitably lead to our government mandating that everyone eat only rice cakes and drink only Gatorade. The government should just stay out of it.
Already, our government is restricting salt in some places as well as sugary drinks. In many government schools, students are prohibited from bringing anything “homemade.” And thanks to Michelle Obama, new USDA guidelines lay out requirements and calorie restrictions for cafeteria meals. It might sound good to health nuts who also love the nanny state, but it’s not working. Students are going hungry because of the calorie limit and also because many of them are throwing out the “health food.”
Eliminating sugary sodas and eating more fruits and vegetables are things that people should be doing on an individual basis. Parents shouldn’t be giving their kids junk, at least not regularly. This is why students are throwing out the food at the cafeteria. They’re not used to it. It doesn’t taste good to them. Of course, I don’t know how fresh the food is or how it’s prepared either. But the answer is not a government mandate. That will make things worse.
And not only that, government mandates make things expensive. It’s costing states $3.2 billion just to comply with the new USDA guidelines.
Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill last month that would repeal the USDA’s restrictions regarding maximum calories per student meal. Currently, for kindergarten through 5th grade, students are allowed up to 650 calories for lunch; 6th through 8th grade, 700 calories; and high schoolers, 850. Representative King stated:
“For the first time in history, the USDA has set a calorie limit on school lunches. The goal of the school lunch program was — and is — to insure students receive enough nutrition to be healthy and to learn. The misguided nanny state, as advanced by Michelle Obama’s ‘Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act,’ was interpreted by Secretary [Tom] Vilsack to be a directive that, because some kids are overweight, he would put every child on a diet. Parents know that their kids deserve all of the healthy and nutritious food they want.”
Is it any surprise that Michelle Obama’s “Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act” is making kids unhealthy and hungry? Back in the “old days,” students brought their own lunches, and now, some schools have outright banned homemade lunches. Others are at risk of being inspected by the “food police” to make sure the homemade lunches meet USDA standards, like the incident earlier this year involving that North Carolina girl whose turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice failed inspection, requiring that the girl instead opt for cafeteria “nuggets.”