Ban Vending Machines, Solve Obesity? Hardly.
Connecticut just might ban vending machines selling soft drinks and snacks in public schools. This, proponents argue, will help stave off childhood obesity. Opponents say it’s just a feel-good measure that would do nothing but take funds away from schools.
Childhood and adolescent obesity are definitely problems. But removing vending machines? Isn’t that a bit like trying to bail out the Titanic with a pail? While I don’t think students have an innate right to buy junk food at school, neither do I think banning vending machines is going to do a thing to stop obesity.
We had vending machines throughout my school district as early as 1987. Since I graduated high school in 1993, the adolescent obesity rate as gone up nearly 50%. I think this is a problem being fueled by a lot more than just a few Cokes and Snickers bars being sold at school.
If the Connecticut government wants to do something to combat obesity among its youth, how about looking into dietary education, physical fitness courses and other means that would surely have a better chance of success. Removing vending machines, while not some huge violation of rights, is still an example of government at its worst—taking something away in lieu of addressing the problem for real.