There’s an article on Canada.com this week about the junk food ban starting in Ontario schools this September. Personally, I’m all for removing the pop machines and cleaning up the cafeteria menus, but I can’t help feeling there’s a lot more to it (also it pricks at my individual responsibility and freedom of choice sensibilities, but that is an entirely different conversation).
All of the news that I’ve read on this issue highlights problems like saturated fat, sugar and sodium content contributing to childhood obesity and a myriad of other health issues. That’s certainly true, but what I want to know, is why this kind of information isn’t being taught?
I had health classes from grade eight right through high school and occasionally we’d skim over the food pyramid (but that was usually in home ec now that I think about it). Health classes were mostly the same recycled information about teen pregnancy and birth control. While I’m certainly an advocate for sex education and I don’t take the importance of that subject lightly, human health is a much broader subject and frankly, bananas have more value than condom application practice.
Is there going to be more class time spent on proper nutrition to enable and encourage informed decision making on the part of our students? If all we’re doing is removing the product, we’re not going to help them in the long term and the fact is, there will be junk food available outside of schools their entire lives.
Granted, high school was a while ago (longer than I’d care to think about) and for all I know things have changed and more food and lifestyle information has been added to the curriculum. If so, great! Colour me a happy tax payer. If not, we’re treating a symptom while the disease dances on.