The Washington Post

Chocolate milk and our implacable nanny state

Continetti is guest-blogging for The Post.

It wasn’t until I read author Jen Singer’s Wall Street Journal op-ed today that I learned my old school district of Fairfax County, Va., had banned chocolate milk from its cafeteria menu. Like anybody who enjoyed chocolate milk as a child, I'm outraged. The good news is that this month the county bowed to pressure and reinstated chocolate milk, albeit in a reduced-fat form. As Singer points out, getting rid of chocolate milk doesn’t mean students will opt for 2 percent or skim. It means they won’t drink milk at all.

Julie Gun, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, had an informative article in the Winter 2011 issue of National Affairs with the headline, “Children, Parents, and Obesity.” As much as I enjoyed the piece when I first read it, I had some misgivings. Gun concludes that the way to curb childhood obesity is by “fostering, calling upon, and trusting in the character and sense of responsibility of individual citizens.” Easier said than done!

There’s no denying American waistlines are growing. And encouraging kids to exercise does not herald the end of the Constitution. The government has to raise revenue somehow, so (in my opinion) taxes on cigarettes and soda aren’t the worst things in the world. Heck, take the snack machines out of high schools if necessary. There’s no natural right to purchasing a bag of Doritos during study hall.

But you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And for me that line is when the government bans food and drink because a few people have no self-control. Think of all the millions of Americans who’ve enjoyed chocolate milk as children (or adults) and never needed to audition for “The Biggest Loser.” Why should they be denied?

In light of the chocolate milk controversy, I may have to reexamine my attitude toward government involvement in our diets. After all: Give the do-gooders an inch, and they will take a mile. Such is life in our implacable nanny state.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
This isn't your daddy's gun club
A look inside the world of Candomblé
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
The art of tortilla-making
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How the new credit card chip makes purchases more secure