Our View: Soda ban ideas fall flat | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: Soda ban ideas fall flat

School district officials soon will have a tough decision before them.

A three-year contract between Pepsi Bottling Group and Moffat County High School expires Dec. 7. The Moffat County School District Board of Education, under pressure by the state to provide students with more nutritious snacks and beverages, will decide whether to renew the contract.

If the School Board doesn’t renew the contract, the high school stands to lose nearly $40,000 in money generated from Pepsi sponsorships and sales of products. The school uses that money for various programs.

We don’t think each decision the School Board makes should be about money. And we do think that the school district should be concerned about childhood obesity.

But banning soda pop in schools is a misguided and financially impractical way to tackle obesity and the bad nutrition habits of some teenagers.

Asking a school district to go on a $40,000 diet on the slim chance that teenagers will suddenly stop drinking sugary soft drinks is unrealistic and uneconomical.

With a simple ban, it’s more likely those teenagers will spend the money at convenience stores. That doesn’t solve the problem, it just diverts the dollars.

The school can meet state standards by providing students with healthy alternatives in vending machines, education about nutrition and opportunities to make informed decisions.

High school students, after all, are nearing adulthood. Isn’t it time they learn about personal responsibility? Parents also can go a long way in helping their children make healthy decisions.

Rather than focusing on vending machines as the problem, schools would do well to encourage students to resist sedentary lifestyles.

TV and video games have increasingly replaced physical activity among the young.

Last year, according to an Associated Press report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation hadn’t made progress since 1991 in its goals to increase exercise by students.

The report went on to say that nearly 9 million school children were overweight, nearly tripling since 1980. Inactivity and poor nutrition are the culprits.

The school board is right to review its vending machine policies and its goals to help students become healthier.

But pulling the plug on the Pepsi contract isn’t the way to go about it.

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