Attempts to ban "junk food" from schools are not the answer to America's childhood obesity problem

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School officials will face a challenge in defining exactly what foods fall in the "junk" category. Is all food high in fat and calories "junk food"? A serving of potato chips and a half an avocado each have about l5 grams of fat, with about l60 calories. An 8-oz glass of soda and a glass of orange juice each have about 23 grams of sugar and about 100 calories. Will these schools ban avocados and orange juice, too? After all, it's extra calories, no matter what the source, that contribute to obesity. Or is it the paucity of nutrients in potato chips and soda that render them "junk"? If so, would vitamin and mineral fortification of chips and soda transmogrify these into health foods?

The reality is that all foods are healthy when used as part of a balanced, varied diet. Instead of dichotomizing between "good" and "bad" food, we should be teaching our children the basics of good nutrition and the value of regular exercise.

Source Notes:
Letters to the Editor, New York Times