SHOULD PRIMARY SCHOOLS BAN FRIED FOOD?
With the rise in obesity amongst youth, should primary schools ban fast food?
Obesity: a growing problem
“To make matters worse, obesity in schoolchildren has risen – from 11 per cent in 2013 to 12 per cent in 2014, said the Education Ministry. In 2000, it was 10 per cent” – Straits Times, 22 February 2016
Childhood obesity is a severe growing trend in Singapore. It is estimated that 34 percent of people aged 24 to 35 this year are expected to be diabetic by the time they reach 65, according to a study by Professor Chia Kee Seng, Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. It is therefore ever more crucial to combat this serious issue from an early age.
What schools can do
Schools are the best agents in shaping a healthy ecosystem for the children. With students having more pocket money and freedom these days it is not uncommon to find even primary school students in fast food outlets. By banning fried food in primary schools, they effectively combat obesity and unhealthy lifestyles in the schools.
Currently, most primary schools limit the sale of fried food to once or twice a week, so is a ban necessary? Just like the former point, we cannot control how children manage their lifestyles outside of school, hence by fully eliminating fried food in primary schools we can at least be sure on the school’s part that it fosters a healthy environment.