An article in yesterday's New York Times discussed new rules about the types of snacks that can be sold in schools. They have to be healthier. A key set of issues were raised:
(1) Would schools receive less revenue as the demand for less healthy snacks is assumed to be lower than the demand for healthy snacks?
(2) If schools have a choice oaf how to promote children's health, why not require a daily physical education class?
On the first, with the right marketing, there might even be more demand for healthy snacks than for less healthy snacks. Seems reasonable to assume a lower demand but this is not guaranteed and is an empirical question.
On the second point, the incentives just don't line up. Schools are asked to put things like "No Child Left Behind" and other standardized testing first. Changing the rules about what food can be sold may be much less effective than physical education. But physical education requires a teacher and takes time away from other activities. In short, the incentives to say you are doing something are pretty strong and this can be done much less expensively by changing the food rules and claiming progress than by really reforming the children's educational process and how health is related to that process.
Lemon Zest, Turkish Apricot Scones
3 years ago