Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act not as Big of a Success as Originally Thought

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Nutrition is becoming increasingly important to schools.

Genna Liu, Guest Reporter

Like chef Giada de Laurentiis said, pasta does not make someone unhealthy; “how much pasta [one] eat[s]” makes someone unhealthy.

Government officials, sadly, do not think the same way, as evident in their banning of junk food from all American schools. Through the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, implemented in 2010, potato chips and candy bars were eliminated in favor of granola bars. This change was not well-received by students, who declined the initiative. Lunch sales dropped by nearly a million nationwide, according to The Washington Post. Many students who buy lunch throw away their fruits and vegetables, defeating the act’s healthy intention.

Schools are also losing. Greenville Online estimated that Greenville County in South Carolina estimated more than one million dollars in loss due to the switch to healthier snacks, and the decline in revenue translates into lost dollars for schools, clubs and parent-teacher organizations. Furthermore, schools have to dish out additional money to purchase equipment to comply with the new regulations. Schools should not be punished financially in exchange for a healthier menu.

Advocates for the act hailed it as “a historical victory for our nation’s youngsters,” as said by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The act benefits students by improving the nutritional quality of all food in schools. Newly-designed lunches include reduced sodium content, which places students at a lower risk for heart diseases.

The Hunger-Free Kids Act, however, should be reversed. Although lawmakers harbored beneficial intentions of providing healthy foods to students, they need to realize that when students enter society, they will have to encounter junk foods. Instead of completely eliminating unhealthy items in hopes of forming a “healthy utopia,” schools should teach students the power of moderation and choices. Indeed, one bowl of pasta will not kill anyone, and neither will one bag of potato chips.