A story that appeared in the April 19, 2004 Associated Press, highlighted schools that were eliminating all junk food from school grounds. In an attempt to improve the diet and health of students, Nathan Hale School, in New Haven Connecticut has eliminated junk food from the school menus and vending machines. Principal Kim Johnsky boasted in the story, “There isn’t a candy bar in this school”.
The story noted that according to data from the centres for Disease Control and Prevention, for the year 2000, about 15 percent of children and adolescents between the ages 6-19 are obese, and that figure has grown steadily over time.
A medical adviser for New Haven Schools, Dr. Stephen Updegrove, and one of the primary architects of the district’s policy, said one of the goals is to create a “ripple effect” from the school to the community. “Schools are a major area where kids spend a lot of time, a lot of structured time, and that’s a real opportunity to model good behaviors”.
The article noted that this is becoming a trend. Schools across the country have made similar changes. California has passed legislation to ban junk food from vending machines, and New York City has cut out hard candy, doughnuts, soda and salty chips. Hawaii’s Board of Education also recently put strict limits on machine contents.