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Don’t Just Say No

One more example of how schools banning something adults feel is bad for kids has little or no effect on their behavior.

A new study suggests that cutting sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks from school cafeteria menus will have little effect on teens’ overall consumption of the beverages.

Because these drinks are believed to be a major contributor to increasing rates of childhood obesity in the United States, many schools across the nation are banning them or curbing their availability to students.

The fact that students couldn’t get sugared drinks at school didn’t mean they drank less of it. It just means they drank it somewhere else or brought it with them.

Which comes back to a basic point of education…

Simply banning something rarely changes a person’s behavior, unless it’s to make many of them want the banned substance even more.

Helping them understand why that behavior is harmful and which alternatives are better, while not perfect, still works much better.

I know… I’m naive. :-)

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3 Comments

  1. You are hardly naive. I hope these schools are also “Helping them understand why that behavior is harmful and which alternatives are better”. If they are, it would make sense remove the “unhealthy” alternatives and replace them with better choices. In theory, this will avoid sending any mixed messages to the students (we never do that). Of course, the kids know that most faculty lounges have soda machines in them and will probably wonder why we tell them not to partake in such unhealthy behavior while doing it ourselves. Kinda like going to a doctor who smokes. Do what I say kid, not what I do. :-)

  2. Dave

    Agreed. I think the key is to make the other options at least viable. Juice is expensive, not available in places where soda is, and typically is as unhealthy as soda. If we could make cheap 100% juice available at school and at home, then getting students to switch from soda would at least be plausible.

    As a young adult, I’m fascinated by how much of the “health” information I learned in school is way off-base. For example, we were always taught that if you want to shed inches, you have to do aerobic exercise and eat vegetables. In reality, you’ll be far more successful if you lift weights and eat lean protein, because you’ll build muscle and that muscle will burn way more calories all day long then you’d burn in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. (And yes, that goes for girls, too, and no, girls won’t turn into muscle-covered freaks unless they take steroids or have insane workout plans.)

  3. You bring up a really good point, its sad that our education system chooses to ban a solutiion rather than educate about a problem. Kids aren’t stuid they can still have saccess to what they want in this case that is soda, and the fact that its banned is more incentive to drink it. Great solution!

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