Lawmakers push for junk food ban in schools

Lawmakers consider junk food ban
Published: Mar. 13, 2013 at 3:05 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new law could mean a new look for school vending machines.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," says Carolyn Stewart, a teacher at Hanahan Middle School. "With the obesity issue in our country right now, we really need to be concerned about the nutrition of our students."

If the bill passes, schools would no longer sell unhealthy foods. Snacks would have to have less than 200 calories. Elementary and middle schools could only sell water, low-fat milk, or 100-percent juice with no added sugars. Some teachers say nutrition education should also be part of the equation.

"Just teaching them small things," explains Allison Taylor, a teacher at Devon Forest Elementary. "They don't have to change everything about what they serve, even lean proteins instead of certain meats or more greens."

The standards will also cover the "a la carte" lunch lines and any other foods regularly sold around school. Some parents say they don't mind healthier choices, but kids should also enjoy what they eat.

"I would not be adverse to it, but it's a matter of what the kids will actually like. The kids are going to eat what they want to eat."

Other parents say healthy eating should be a lesson in the classroom and at home.

"I think it really starts with education at home and the parents teaching the children good foods to eat, showing them selections of good foods to eat."

The new law would not apply to school fundraisers or after school concession stands. Portion size restrictions would also vary from elementary to high school.