Banning sugary or unhealthy foods for children?

Discuss the March 2016 Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin.

(Note, Carrie Rubin's previous book The Seneca Scourge was book of the month in December 2012. :) )
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Re: Banning sugary or unhealthy foods for children?

Post by CataclysmicKnight »

I definitely think banning any sort of food is a dangerous path to take, but at the same time, especially with sugar, it's dangerous to allow kids to have as much as they want. With more kids taking money to school there needs to be, at the very least, a limit to what they can get. Even the most strict parents can be trumped by a child's friend giving them treats without the parent's knowledge.

While not asked in the topic, I think caffeine is just as bad. As someone who is a caffeine addict, and someone who has a fiancée addicted to it as well, I know the pain and ease with which that addiction can hit.
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Post by amberlk »

I don't think banning will ever happen. I think it is up to parents to give their children healthy eating habits right from the beginning. My oldest (4) has a friend the same age that is given mountain dew and sugar whenever he wants it. My son has tried pop maybe 3 times and each time has spit it out because he doesn't like the carbonation. He likes candy, but he only gets it on special occasions. We ask that grandparents not get him candy and such for holidays or if they do to not go crazy otherwise it just sits in our cabinet until I throw it away. My son LOVES vegetables and I think that is from us encouraging healthy eating from the start. Are we big healthy eaters? No. In fact, I have Crohn's disease and can't eat most vegetables which makes cooking healthy meals for my family hard, but we do our best.
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Post by mkgentry14 »

No, absolutely not. I firmly believe decisions about nutrition (excluding drugs, obviously) should be left up to the parent. Unfortunately there are always going to be parents out there that never deserve the blessing of children, but that can never be our choice to tell them how. Just as we allow drugs during childbirth that are very arguably harmful for our babies, we allow those too. I do agree with a previous poster that schools should encourage healthier eating. Especially when kids are getting free lunches (which tax payers are paying for), they shouldn't be creating obesity and health problems.
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Post by hsimone »

JanaeiAlexandria wrote:I think that if children are taught good eating habits at home as well as at school there is no need to ban unhealthy or sugary foods. Banning anything tends to make it that more intensing, teaching moderation is key. Children mimic what their parents and role models do. So when we practice good eating habits, they do as well.
I agree with all of the above!

When I used to be a part-time nanny, I obviously took my cues from the kids' parents in what is eaten and how often. Their mom's a pediatrician, so needless to say, there were a lot of healthy options around the house. However, what I found interesting was Halloween. The kids every year would get dressed up and collect their sweets, but the "tradition" for the next month would be to have one little candy after dinner everyday. That's it, a little Kit Kat, a little Snickers, etc. The kids loved it because they got to have candy everyday, but it was so minimal that their sugar intake was still low. They didn't have cravings or the need to eat more sweets because they get to have one everyday for entire month! It's what they got used to. Now, tie that in to extra-curriculars inside and outside the house, the kids didn't have time to think about the rest of the stash mom and dad had. Plus, I'm sure they've had what's healthy/unhealthy with their mom being a pediatrician, which obviously is a benefit to the whole family.

Banning, I don't think would work. However, more awareness somehow should be more easily accessible to help unsure parents to help teach about moderation and control (i.e. workshops/trainings, support groups, etc.).
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Post by KateNox »

I definitely agree that the biggest positive step would be education about (un)healthy food, how to prepare a healthy meal, how to read the lists of ingredients, etc. The corporations behind so many unhealthy products are just too powerful and I don't believe that they would ever allow to be banned, so it's on the "ordinary" people to educate themselves and spread the knowledge. Sometimes I get so sad when I see what people are eating, without even realizing how unhealthy certain food can be.
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Post by Skoraeus »

I agree with it to a certain extent. As much as we could deny, sugary foods or unhealthy ones, junk foods for example, have became a part of children's life. Everyday you could see dozens of kids, gathering around at the fast food chains ordering unhealthy food, fried stuff, this had involuntary associated itself with the kids' life. As unfortunate as it could be, it still managed a positive outlook though. It never fails to make the children happy.
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Post by L_Therese »

I think banning such foods is too extreme, and if we examine the history of banned consumables, it is also often ineffective. Instead, let's lead by example. If children are not in the habit of eating sugary or fatty foods at home, they are less likely to be tempted elsewhere. Many schools are beginning to move away from traditional desserts in school lunches (puddings, brownies, cookies, ice cream) in favor of fruit cups and apple slices. The more adults are aware of the problems and teach healthy living values to children, the better equipped the next generation will become to make healthy choices and perhaps reduce the obesity problem now confronting our society. A cultural change will be more effective than a legislated change in this case.
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Post by KateNox »

I don't think that it would even be possible to completely ban sugary and processed food. Already way too much incorporated in people's life. But it should definitely be regulated in some manners.

Concerning schools, I think that it's so discouraging that this kind of food is being served to kids, usually without second option to choose.
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Post by iluvmusicmana »

I think sugar should be banned. It's awful for people in general, whether child or adult. If you ask me, the food industry has taken a serious fall over the last couple decades. It is far too easy to run out to a fast food restaurant and buy unhealthy food in comparison to making dinner at home. Making food at home, packing lunches, and planning meals has so many upsides, but it's not as accessible and people crave the convenience factor. I feel all of the food industry needs a shift and not only when it comes to sugar.
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Post by Flreader »

I believe education is the answer. Government involvement beyond removing it from school lunches is expensive and excessive. It can not replace parent choice. I did not ban soda or junk food from my 3 kids at a certain age. They make that choice, and they now skip it for the healthiest options including water. They make these decisions due to dance, and workout regimes. Healthy choices are always a choice, and I didn't want to force it on my on children past 8 years old. However, this was our answer. Education is important. As long as parents do not abuse their kids, it should be their choice.
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Post by Bookqueen »

I have a 3 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. They love candy and always ask for it. Our version of candy is mott's fruit gummies. They love them and they get one before they go to daycare every morning. It isn't much better than gum and suckered but it works for our house. When we go to a store they see all the sugary goods at the checkout and don't even ask. It still amazes me. I feel it is the parents or guardians that should educate children at home about overprocessed food and sugary items.
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Post by sarahpayne23 »

This is a question many in healthcare and the government are perplexed with. I believe you will soon start to see the government regulating the amount of sugar in foods. They are already regulating the types of oils found in foods. I believe parents and adults should make healthy choices and encourage children to do the same. No one has to eat healthy all the time, but watching how much unhealthy foods are consumed is important.
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Post by stoppoppingtheP »

I don't think banning sugary foods is necessary. Everyone loves to indulge from time to time. What we do need is balance and education. Schools and parents should teach children how to eat healthy, nourishing food, and balance their lives with food and exercise. However, an important factor that needs to change in our lives is advertising. As long as advertising makes a thing seem alluring, we will get pulled in. I say, instead of banning sugary foods why not ban advertising and see how it goes. :)

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Post by alicia_fountain »

I don't think an outright ban should be put on sugary or unhealthy foods for children. I do try my best to limit the amount of sugary foods that my children eat, however some things do get in the way (like grandparents, dad, etc.). I think the problem should be more focused toward helping create limits on sugary foods, especially for those children who are overweight or obese. This is a hard topic to discuss because I can imagine how someone would sound if they were making the same sort of arguments for cigarettes! However, cigarettes are an unnecessary part of life, but sugar can be helpful. For example, there is sugar found in fruits such as strawberries and bananas. This sugar is healthy to digest on a regular (and sometimes overloaded) basis. There are some very unhealthy types of sugars out there, though, that contribute to the bad rep that sugar has nowadays. The sugars added to sodas and candies are all unhealthy, even in small amounts. There has been a recent surge in sugar restrictions, such as the bans on high fructose corn syrup across the United States and in Europe. While I agree with the bans in general, I don't think that all sugar should be banned. Perhaps getting rid of some of the more harmful types of added sugars (I don't have enough knowledge to know which is which) and forcing companies to have a limit on the amount of added sugars in their products would be beneficial. Also, it comes down to the way the parents are raising their children. In our society, we no longer have to go outside to talk to our friends when we have Internet and cellular phones. Our society seems to be focused on being fit, but the actual culture is not as enthused with fitness. I don't exercise, even though I should. I'm "thin", but I've never really gotten into working out or doing some regular exercise like taking walks or going on bike rides. Our mentality seems to be "I want to be fit, but I don't want to do the work." I think it might be cool to come out with some sort of advantages to working out, like getting coupons for fruit/vegetables for participating in a race or even having city-wide programs that encourage people to become healthier. We have already seen these kinds of things go into effect, and will likely see many more!

In case you don't want to read all of that!!^ There are plenty of options we have available to help children cut out sugar from their diets that don't include banning sugars and unhealthy foods.

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Post by Denise Hill »

I am definitely against banning these foods. I am a fan of teaching kids that you an enjoy sugar or an unhealthy snacks--in moderation. Self-discipline is a powerful tool and I would rather my child ate candy once in a while and had a bit of self-control versus banning something and then when he/she becomes an adult--they go nuts eating that crap. Banning things creates mystery and intrigue. It brings out the rebellious nature in humans. That's not what we want. Teaching and training go a whole lot further than any type of regulation or ban...just ask a meth addict
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