Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fat kids and leftwing supporters of laissez-faire

Teachers, principals and student councils oppose moves to restrict the sale of unhealthy foods in schools partly on the grounds it was important not to end up being ‘a nanny state’.

The proposal involved, among other things, restricting the availability of greasy junk food to two occasions per term. One of the arguments was that kids eat only 5 meals out of 21 per week so it won’t make a significant difference – the partly contradictory claim is that the school canteens will lose too much money as a consequence of restrictions. These are interesting arguments from these predominantly left-wing groups – even libertarian-inclined economists like Gary Becker and Richard Posner were prepared to entertain the value of such restrictions when they bore on children. The right being outflanked on the right by the left!

Kids do not make informed food choices and, at school, the possibilities for parental direction and supervision are limited. There is a clear and strong case for intervention here to restrict choices to foods that will not damage the health of kids.


Anonymous said...

"Kids do not make informed food choices"

That's a big call. Most kids know what kind of food is healthy and what is not. Especially in high school, I doubt you'd see many girls scoffing down sausage rolls from the canteen.

Anonymous said...

Think about your own son, Harry. I assume you have taught him (or he knows from TV) to eat fruit and veg etc. Most kids are in a similar position.

hc said...

I don't think kids make good choices at all and I extend that judgment to teenagers. Pizza and chips have become regular meals for many on campous here at my university.

But teenagers should accept some responsibility for their food choices - not so for young kids.

My son has terrible judgement - he would live on sweets and chocolates if he had access. Our main control is to not allow him to buy food at school except on special occasions.

Anonymous said...

If there is no fresh fruit easily accesible I'll eat a Snickers Bar instead.

Our kids are the same. If you provide them with lovely options and the occasional treat they'll be fine.

If your kids are obese if because you fucked up. They don't do the grocery shopping, you do.