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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Should the Government Have a Place in High School Cafeterias?

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Every day as our debt accumulates more and more, it seems as if the government continues to ignore the problems that are crucial and focus on those that citizens question whether it should even be involved in, such as the diet of each American.  Americans nationwide have seen how Mr. Bloomberg and the local government of New York City wishes to ban the 32 ounce drinks.  What many of them have not seen is what is going on in high school cafeterias around the nation.

This year, students of my school were greeted by a letter, telling them the changes that will be occurring in their cafeteria in a move to create “healthier Americans.”  This movement, led by First Lady Michelle Obama, is one that is arguably not a duty of the government.  The government provides subsidies for the food shipped to cafeterias, but if we truly have a free market, should they make the decision of what students will eat?

While meant to give students more healthier choices in schools, this movement has received a negative light.  Many students report that meats that are already infilling have shrunk in size.  Slices of pizza are now half of what they used to be.  When I asked for broccoli, I was so disturbed by what I got, that I actually had to get a photo:

And this is the possibility when the government controls food portions.  I actually discussed this with some of the staff running the cafeteria and was informed that they were required to now count calories before they serve each meal.  They were just as unhappy with the new system as I was.  Michelle Obama, Congress, or anyone in the Federal Government would probably wish for more than three stalks of broccoli.

Even if you firmly believe that the government should control what we eat, do you really think that this is an effective system?  The idea is to not give children enough food at school, hoping that this will solve the obesity problem that America is now facing.  What the people who set these policies in place fail to realize, however, is the fact that students will go home hungry and eat everything in their homes because they will not be able to hold off until supper time.  This will result in the eating of more packaged snacks, containing preservatives and many things that are much worse for them than an additional stalk of broccoli.  Or worse, maybe they do not have time to go home and will settle for a 500 calorie snack at their fast food restaurant of choice.

Through this post, I question whether the government should have any part in telling me and other students what we eat while at school.  In my eyes, it should be my responsibility to make these choices and live my life the way I want.  I believe in healthy eating, but a 32 ounce drink is not going to cause my demise.  In addition to the fact that I believe the government should not be regulating this, it could be causing reverse negativity, as some students will go home hungry, be forced to spend more of their parents’ money on food, and will wind up eating foods that are much worse for them to satisfy their hunger.  

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