Nanny State Gone Wild: Massachusetts Bans Bake Sales

Posted: May 07, 2012 7:50 PM

Government knows best! At least, in Massachusetts it does. In an attempt to curb children's expanding waistlines, the state government has banned junk food from school grounds during the day (and they're pushing for an extension into evening activities, too). 

At a minimum, the nosh clampdown targets so-called “competitive” foods — those sold or served during the school day in hallways, cafeterias, stores and vending machines outside the regular lunch program, including bake sales, holiday parties and treats dished out to reward academic achievement. But state officials are pushing schools to expand the ban 24/7 to include evening, weekend and community events such as banquets, door-to-door candy sales and football games.

The Departments of Public Health and Education contend clearing tables of even whole milk and white bread is necessary to combat an obesity epidemic affecting a third of the state’s 1.5 million students. But parents argue crudites won’t cut it when the bills come due on athletic equipment and band trips.

Of course, the it's-for-the-children strain of logic is a compelling one -- after all, who wants obese children?! No one; but that doesn't mean it's the government's job to police what children eat. After all, the occasional bake sale or Christmas (!) party are hardly the cause of the nation's love handles. It takes dedication to an unhealthy diet (or a thyroid problem) to tip the scales at a dangerously high level. A ban on treats in school is an overly austere, and entirely unhelpful policy.

It's parents who must take responsibility for feeding their children properly, not the government. Ban every processed food from school grounds if you so desire, but in the end, children learn healthy habits at home. This law is an inconvenience for children who wish to raise money for their activities, and it's a far cry from an effective weight loss program.