Banning Junk Food
Debate Rounds (3)
Short debate on if we should ban junk food in schools.
3. Rebut/ Defend
1. Junk food: Food such as gum, candy, hamburgers, anything that is unhealthy
2. School: A place of education.
I wouldn't call gum unhealthy.
I would narrow down school to state provided education for 3-19 year olds. A university is a place of education, but it's for adults, whom the state can't control. You could also argue that a home is a place of education for home-school educated kids, but you can't ban junk food in people's homes. As for the state school part, at least in Britain private schools and special needs schools have huge leeway about what they teach and how they teach it. (I'm assuming here that we're talking of a statewide or a nationwide ban, not a ban put in place by the schools individually, though I'd be happy to debate that as well.)
Aside from that, it sounds like a really good debate, and I look forward to it.
Parisien forfeited this round.
In Britain at least, foods with more than 5g of saturated fats, 17.5 of total fats, or 22.5g of sugars per 100g are considered to be 'red' foods. Any foods that broke these boundaries would not be permitted in schools. Since all food products in the UK must provide nutritional information per 100g, and the vast majority have clear green, yellow and red colour coding, there could be no argument about whether a food brought into school was banned or not. These foods are often ones that we take for granted, think little of, or don't realise how regularly we are eating. A mindset in which such foods are treated as everyday items is a terrible and dangerous inheritance.
Banning unhealthy foods would be a process of two parts. Firstly, on school dinners, which would easy enough to force. Such a ban would vastly broaden children's horizons, showing them that you can eat mildly interesting, cheap, healthy food for every lunch and you will not collapse from a lack of sugars. It is absolutely and utterly key to long term health that children become used to eating healthy foods. Flavoured rice, chicken breast, veggies, pasta and Quorn are all healthy and realistic alternatives to pizza, pudding, cheese burgers and chips. And for anyone who has died of shock at the mention of the word 'Quorn', it has far less saturated fats than beef burgers, and as every vegetarian knows, is actually ruddy amazing.
Secondly, children would not be allowed to bring unhealthy foods into school. Of course they will break this rule. Schoolchildren also roll up their skirts, swear at each other, pass notes and snog behind the sports shed. School rules aren't in place for the universal acceptance and joy of children, but to hugely reduce both the rate at which an activity is undertaken, and the implicit approval of the school and state. Ultimately, a 6 year old child isn't old enough to even evaluate the pros and cons of eating foods that could cause health problems in 20 years, whilst even 12 year olds and older lack impulse control and judgement. The area of the brain that assesses risk doesn't finish developing until the mid twenties, and children in their teens are deeply susceptible to following the social norm, rather than evaluating choices independently and sticking to them. To show children that they can have healthy snacks, but not chocolate and crisps, is essential to teaching them good norms.
Our brains are programmed from the caveman days, when food was scarce and liable to become rotten exceedingly quickly. This has been recognised as the source of our problems resisting unhealthy foods for many years now, and has to be combated in an age where sugary and fatty foods abound. Studies have shown that we are more likely to eat unhealthy food when it is freely available, such as biscuits left on the counter, and less likely if it is even slightly inaccessible, such as on a high shelf. When unhealthy foods are unavailable, we crave them less and think of them less. We need to encourage our children to see unhealthy foods as treats not snacks, and additions to not staples of their diet. Banning unhealthy foods may seem harsh and radical. But the crisis we are facing of child obesity is one in which complacency is utterly unacceptable.
Parisien forfeited this round.
There is one common counter argument that I would like to mention, and rebut, which is the argument of free will. Constantly brought up is the idea that parents have a right to give their children the food they want, at the cost they want, at the times they want. But on the grounds of a school, with so many other rules in place - for example, that school children may not run across the courtyard - this seems indefensible. Bans and rules are a daily part of life. This would merely be a ban instituted for the health of a generation of children.
Many thanks, and please do take the time to vote.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by U.n 7 months ago
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