An elementary school in Kentucky has outlawed birthday foods, including cakes and ice cream, but bookmarks, pencils and erasers are still allowed in class.
Burlington Elementary School in Burlington, Kentucky, recently revised its wellness policy to ban treats at school birthday celebrations, the Kentucky Enquirer reports.
It’s all in the name of making sure students get healthy food at school.
“We’re finding it’s difficult to be the first,” said Valerie Bailey, who is on the PTA and the committee that helped draft the wellness policy. “Parents say it’s not fair. But we hope it sends a message to the parents and kids, especially with the obesity rate being so high, and puts a bug in their ear.”
The changes were made to address the growing childhood obesity rate nationwide.
“About 37 percent of our children are at risk or obese,” Kathy Reutman, who makes sure the wellness policies for Boone County schools meet federal guidelines, told the Enquirer. “It’s not up to us to tell parents what to do. But when children are in our care we make sure that nothing gets in the way of them and their learning. Food allergies or too much sugar get in the way of that.”
Students can still bring in non-edible birthday treats to share with the class.
“There was quite a bit of push back the first week,” Bailey told the newspaper. “But once people started seeing the reasoning for it and realizing there were other options, they’re starting to get creative and find alternatives to still celebrate birthdays.”
Schools in the Seattle suburbs; Louisville; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Boulder, Colorado; and Minneapolis have also banned birthday cake and other sweets.
The Associated Press reports that the federal government doesn’t necessarily have a food ban, but it has made a series of rule changes and recommendations in the past few years toward helping people choose healthier foods and beverages.
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