War On Fat Kids: Would Banning Junk Food Advertising Really Help?


As a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s War on Fat Kids, there is a push afoot to ban junk food advertising in schools.

The Bismarck Tribune, even after acknowledging the nanny state implications of such a ban, doesn’ think it’s such a bad thing. “We do not like people telling us what to feed our kids,” writes the Tribune. “But when they are eating at school, subsidized by the tax payer dime, the case can be made for nutritious options.”

Setting aside the absurdity of our national government micromanaging something as intensely local as what sort of advertisements and flyers line the halls of our locals schools, can it really be argued that banning that sort of advertising in school is going to help?

Is protecting students from the knowledge that there is junk food they could buy (setting aside the fact that they get plenty of that outside of school) really going to help them make good decisions with their diet?

Unless we’re going to implement food controls and censorship outside of schools too, we have to accept that these students will grow up to live in a world where junk food and advertisements for it are everywhere. Proper nutrition instruction shouldn’t be based on censoring that sort of thing, but on instructing students on how to make the right nutritional decisions despite it.

Nanny statists enjoy policies based on “the absolute shall,” but it’s truth that the “absolute shall” shall always fail absolutely. Just as we couldn’t fix America’s drinking problems by telling Americans they shall not drink, we won’t fix an obesity problem by saying students shall not look at junk food advertising.

America’s obesity problems will only be fixed – to the extent they can be fixed – when Americans (including this one) choose to make better decisions. No amount of censorship will change that.