Educational, nutritional health both important

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 19, 2006

What students consume during school hours has become a topic ofmuch debate lately.

A national agreement calls for beverage makers to stop sellingnon-diet soda in elementary and middle schools by 2009. Diet sodasales could continue in high schools.

A state proposal, currently being considered, would go furtherby eliminating all kinds of sodas starting next year and phasingout non-nutritional snacks between now and 2008. Only bottledwater, milk, 100 percent fruit juice and nutritional snacksincluding fruits and vegetables could be sold once the proposaltakes full effect in 2009.

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Lincoln County and Brookhaven school district officials saidthey have begun moving toward more healthy and nutritional foodoptions in vending machines.

While some may consider the state proposal as going too far,plans to begin curbing student access to unhealthy foods duringschool hours is a step in the right direction.

However, regardless of whatever vending machine rules areadopted, curbing or eliminating unhealthy food choices at schoolwill not solve all problems related to childhood obesity.

Making healthy lifestyle choices begins at home.

If students are inclined to consume unhealthy sodas and snacks,they can still do so before or after school. But reducing thattemptation during school hours removes a distraction to what shouldbe students’ primary focus, which is to improve their educationalhealth and make it the best it can be.