We Want Our Junk Food

By Charlie Perez, Online Editor

In 2014, the federal government decided to set nutritional standards for all food sold in schools in the hopes of curbing pervasive childhood obesity in America. It didn’t work: childhood obesity has continued to climb in the last four years, as it has since the 1970s, according to the watch group The State of Obesity. But now, schools and students are stuck with the consequences of this legislation.

These regulations have not curbed students’ appetite for junk food. They serve only to restrict the flow of money into the school. By cutting off students’ options for food, the government and the county have only pushed students to find alternatives outside of school if they don’t want to eat the state-provided “nutritional” food every day. The county and the federal government are taking away their only real revenue stream. In this school, where even the zero-sugar sodas once flew off the racks of vending machines, now sparkling water and Powerade bottles sit untouched.

The people of this school want the best food. They want the ability to walk into school and find something they want to eat. Why does the government get to decide what it is that we get to eat? The idea behind a free market economy is the ability to choose; the government has no right to judge what kids eat or try and control it. The idea goes against the very principles of this country.

Prohibiting clubs from selling food to students during school hours hurts the school, too. In order to have a healthy extracurricular program at Falls Church — which keeps kids active and involved in the community — clubs need money. Selling food is a very easy way to raise money, but not so much 30 minutes after school, when almost everyone is at home or practice.

Meanwhile, the McDonald’s in Loehmann’s Plaza gets the business of the Falls Church students and teachers.

I’m not saying the school has to sell sugary drinks and sugar-laden snacks in all the vending machines. But at least give somebody the opportunity to do so, instead of letting students walk out the door every afternoon to find junk food for themselves.