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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 11/12/2010

Palin: Parents should decide what kids eat in school

By Valerie Strauss

An effort by the Pennsylvania Board of Education to encourage public schools to limit sweets and introduce more healthy foods has attracted an unlikely critic: Sarah Palin.

The former Alaska governor was in Pennsylvania this week for a fundraiser at Plumstead Christian School in Plumstead Township in Bucks County.

Apparently believing that the education board was trying to ban sweets altogether in schools, Palin brought cookies with her to symbolize her opposition to what she called a “nanny state run amok,” according to the local news station WPVI.

"I look at Pennsylvania and I think of sweets -- I think of Hershey. Then I think, how dare they ban sweets from school here," said Palin.

The education board isn’t actually intending to ban sweets, but in an effort to help ease the nation’s obesity epidemic, it is planning to issue nutrition guidelines recommending that schools encourage parents to offer no more than one homemade sweet at school parties and that classrooms have one combined birthday celebration per month as a way to preserve instructional time.

Before she gave her speech, she tweeted that she was going to bring the students cookies to make her point about "laissez faire government."

"I wanted these kids to bring home the idea to their parents for discussion," Palin said, according to WPVI. "Who should be making the decisions what you eat, school choice and everything else? Should it be government or should it be the parents? It should be the parents."

Well, actually, it needs to be both, and the former governor of any U.S. state knows this.

The federal government got involved in feeding kids at schools because it had to.

Palin presumably knows that the government spends billions of dollars annually to fund food programs at public schools for students who can’t afford to eat otherwise. (About 22 percent of American children live in households experiencing food insecurity.) It seems reasonable that there be some nutritional guidelines about what kids are offered.

States get reimbursed for meals to kids who qualify for the federal breakfast and lunch programs as a result of their family’s income, and Palin probably knows that Alaska and Hawaii get higher reimbursement rates than the other states.

Government officials also say they have a responsibility to help turn around the nation’s obesity epidemic, and that encouraging healthy eating at public schools is part of the solution.

Congress was supposed to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, the federal legislation that determines federally funded school meals, this fall but has yet to do so. It has been a centerpiece of Michelle Obama’s campaign to curb childhood obesity by promoting healthful eating, and if passed, it will include stricter guidelines on the foods that schools can give to kids.

It does not, Sarah Palin will be glad to know, ban sweets in schools.


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By Valerie Strauss  | November 12, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  banning sweets, child nutrition act, cookies, michelle obama, nutrition, nutrition guidelines, obesity, obesity epidemic, palin cookies, pennsylvania board of education, sarah palin, school breakfast, school lunch  
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By Palin's "logic," kids in Iowa should eat nothing but corn.

There's nothing wrong with having the school board set guidelines for what constitutes a healthy meal. If you don't believe that that's what your kid(s) should eat, have them bring lunch. It's really quite simple and it has nothing to do with a nanny state. Instead, it has to do with offering a place where learning can take place, or is Ms. Palin offering to monitor Pennsylvania class rooms full of kids bouncing off the walls from an overload of sugar and food additives?

Posted by: nicolinesmits1 | November 12, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I would like more healthy foods in schools. Eating is a social thing, the kids eat or try what other kids eat. If they want to bring snacks from home that is fine. But why should schools serve junk foods to kids?

Posted by: celestun100 | November 12, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm mystified as to why anybody in the media wastes one second of air time or one column inch on anything this perennial quitter has to say. She shamelessly twists any reality beyond recognition to fit into one of her ten bumper-sticker squawking points. Her pathological disregard for truth would be laughable except for the fact that she attracts and incites a significant number of equally anti-social losers to follow her.

Posted by: buckbuck11 | November 12, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Boy that's ironic! Sarah Palin criticizes PA for child nutritiion programs. Here in Texas the state government, headed by Palin cohort and rumoured '12 running mate Gov. Rick Perry, has been campaigning against too many sweets in schools for years.

Posted by: mgasgw | November 12, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I wish Sarah Palin would fade back into obscurity and leave our country alone. Better yet, have the press make that happen!

She thinks of Pennsylvania and the first thing in her mind is "Hershey" so why ban sweets?! It is like political word association with her. In Iowa it will be potatos and so on...don't want to upset the major contributors, now do we?

Children NEED nutritious food in school.Many do not get it at home and it is necessary for growth & learning. And it can taste good. And sure...send snacks from home! Have a cookie or snack at school but we owe our children better. Our futures depend on these children.

Jamie Oliver has a great program for school nutrition. Take a look and you might even want to sign the petition after reading it. (no, I don't work for him)

Posted by: gspeedy | November 12, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

These days I consider it a small victory for humankind any time she manages to get through a talk without making one of those painful 'mama bear' analogies.

"ya know, ya got tha mama grizzlies over there, and they're bringin' their cubs pixie stix and pop tarts, and they're ignorin' the lamestream doctors and dietitians," etc.

Posted by: District10 | November 12, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

When will the press stop providing this idiot from out-of-the-mainstream wilderness with coverage...enough of her stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry.

Posted by: fairness3 | November 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Sure a parent can decide what a kid eats at's called BROWN-BAGGING IT!!!!! I just don't want her choosing what other kids have for lunch.

Posted by: talk2velda | November 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

*sigh* Yet another reason it would be dangerous to give this airhead any more power....Tina Fey might want to present a possible education agenda under Prez. Palin.

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | November 12, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

So Sarah Palin said she was going to bring students cookies; I hope she didn't kill any allergic kids by offering them peanuts or chocolate or upset any diabetic's blood sugar by offering a very sugary cookie to a child too young to understand his diet. Or maybe she doesn't think the schools should try to keep kids alive.

Also, I just saw the month's menu at a public school. Why are we worried about junk food when we want the kids to eat very starchy food with a high fat content? Most of the meals for the month involved cheese, and given the problems of melting low-fat cheese (and the price), I would be willing to bet the cheese served is not low-fat. Fries and corn are served at the same meal--way too much starch and no green vegetable. The menu did feature a green vegetable on this Friday and next Monday--broccoli both days.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | November 12, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Nobody cares what Paid Palin says! She says anything for a buck! Ridiculous!

Posted by: Garbo1929 | November 12, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Paid Palin flipping around between telling Ben Bernanke to cease and desist printing funny money to telling little kids what to tell their parents! What a Puta! Puta Palin!

Posted by: Garbo1929 | November 12, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

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