Subscribe

Fried food and soda back in Texas schools. How does this help obesity?

A decade-old ban on deep fryers and soda has been lifted in Texas public schools. New Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller says giving back control at the local level may lead to different results in the fight against obesity.

  • close
    New Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller talks about the state's plans to repeal a decade-old ban on deep fryers in public school kitchens, Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Miller is also lifting restrictions on soft drinks in school vending machines.
    Eric Gay/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

A decade-old statewide ban on deep fryers and soda machines was lifted by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on Thursday, The Texas Tribune reported.

The plan is part of an anti-obesity campaign in Texas. A core part of the policy, on top of lifting the ban, is to bring local, farm-raised food to schools. According to a statement released by the Commissioner’s office, the policy is also designed to build community and student involvement in nutrition at a school district level, “where families and community leaders are in the best position to make decisions about what works for the children they serve.”

The policy goes into effect July 1.

If putting soda and fries back in the mix seems counterintuitive, Mr. Miller said in a post to his Facebook page that he believed control over food needed to be more local:

“Michelle Obama and liberal do gooder friends don't like this, but they just don't understand. This isn't about French Fries – its about Freedom. I believe we need fewer state and federal mandates and more local control.”

He called for the halt to “healthy trash cans” – a common complaint among critics of Federal mandates for more nutritious food served at schools, who describe packed trash cans with nixed fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at the end of school lunchtime.

Obesity continues to rise in Texas, and throughout the country. In 2013, 16 percent of high school students in Texas were obese, a two percent increase from 2005. Nationwide, child obesity rates have jumped from 7 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 2012. Among minorities, the rates for children and adolescents were significantly higher, with Hispanics at 22 percent and non-Hispanic black youth at 20 percent, The Texas Tribune reported.

An op-ed that ran in The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday pushed back on the idea that deregulation is the way toward healthier choices. The policy, the editorial board said, is "about the health of Texas schoolchildren and recognizing that if you give a child a choice between water and Coke, the kid is going to pick Coke every time."

Recommended: Six 'urban agriculture' terms explained

Miller’s new policy will also give schools greater flexibility to fundraise throughout the year. School groups can now fundraise by selling candy and soda during school time up to six times per year on school grounds and during school time, up from once a year.

Control, Miller says, should also lead to change.

“What we have been doing to fight childhood obesity for the last ten years has not solved the epidemic in Texas, and in fact, it’s gotten worse,” Commissioner Miller said. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK