Bake Sale Ban: Would It Have Changed Anything?
Almost as quickly as it was introduced, the State of Massachusetts’ ban on bake sales is being overturned. Last month, Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick ordered a ban on bake sales in schools across the entire state. The move, which was part of his campaign to fight childhood obesity, comes at a time when nearly one in three kids is obese, and the nation is struggling to find an effective solution.
Despite the chance of having an impact in overweight children, the ban on bake sales was instantly met with sharp criticism and heavy remarks, which prompted Governor Patrick to issue an overturning of the ban just weeks later. Opponents of the ban were adamant in their reasons for uproar. They stated that the ban would have ended a classic form of raising cash for different types of fundraising events – one that might take away from otherwise impossible opportunities. Not only that, but government really should have no say in what our kids choose or choose not to eat.
And besides, banning the sale of sweet, savory snacks wouldn’t have trimmed our kids’ fat down anyways as they can always find another way to gorge . . . right?
Nationwide, the trends have not looked favorable. The number of children who are obese continues to grow at a much faster rate than those losing weight. And experts estimate that the obesity rate in America will jump to 42 percent by 2030 – almost half of all Americans. Half!
Change is NOT Impossible
Not all states are losing total control; California is faring quite well in its crusade against childhood obesity. Five years ago, the state began cracking down on junk food in school cafeterias and replaced vending machines selling chips and soda with machines that sell carrots and other healthy alternatives. Today, reports brag that the crackdown produced positive results – high school students are consuming fewer calories, and are choosing foods with less fat and sugar, compared to their peers across the nation.
Overall, these California students were consuming around 160 calories fewer each day than other American students. While it doesn’t sound like much (it’s the equivalent to a small bag of potato chips), this difference in calories means the students are being spared an extra 16 pounds each year.. It’s much easier to grasp the significance of this once you realize that 16 additional pounds is too much extra weight for anybody – especially a maturing teenager.
Will the Trend Take Hold?
Other schools are taking notice and are beginning to implement their own strict policies (New York in particular), though none have seen such a dramatic improvement thus far. And true, if Massachusetts had gone ahead and followed through with banning bake sales, we may or may not have seen positive results.
But while it’s not as impactful as completely swapping out lunch menus and high-calorie vending machine items, such a move could have eventually tipped the scales in the right direction. In fact we could almost agree that the main conflict is due to the banning of a great source of fundraising income, not because of the sweets. If schools could come up with some way to raise money just as creatively and fun, then perhaps the next time a similar ban is suggested, we can focus on the good intention and see just what it can do before its shot down prematurely.
O'Connor, Anahad. "Bans on School Junk Food Pay Off in California." NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 8 May 2012. Web. 5 June 2012. <http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/bans-on-school-junk-food-pay-off-in-california/?ref=health>.
"Overweight in Children." American Heart Association. 9 Apr. 2012. Web. 5 June 2012. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp>.
Lazar, Kay. "Governor Patrick Orders Ban on School Bake Sales to Be Overturned." White Coat Notes. Boston.com, 10 May 2012. Web. 6 June 2012. <http://www.boston.com/Boston/whitecoatnotes/2012/05/governor-patrick-orders-ban-school-bake-sales-overturned/UVyRFwfacAZwJRmHYclv7O/story.html>.
"Brownie Ban: Is Massachusetts’ Ban on Bake Sales Overstepping Government’s Bounds?" Fox News Insider. Fox News, 8 May 2012. Web. 6 June 2012. <http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/05/08/brownie-ban-is-massachusetts-ban-on-bake-sales-overstepping-governments-bounds/>.