(NaturalNews) Birthday celebrations for schoolchildren that involve cupcakes, brownies, and other sweet treats could soon be a thing of the past in Pennsylvania. If the state's board of education has its way, public schools will be limited to holing only one classroom birthday party a month, with each child being allowed to eat only one sweet treat per party.
The proposed rules could come into effect as early as 2012. If enacted, they will apply to other holiday celebrations like Valentine's Day and Christmas as well, both of which typically involve dessert foods as part of their festivities. And if school districts do not comply with the mandate, they will risk losing their much-needed state funding.
But not everyone is in agreement with the proposal. Many parents have expressed concerns that such mandates will not necessarily help to stop childhood obesity, and instead take away student freedom. Still others welcome the idea as a way to promote healthier food options for children, giving parents the opportunity to send along vegetables, fruit, and other healthy snacks to school functions instead of cookies and cake.
Kelly Renard, food service director of the Carlisle Area School District in Pennsylvania, believes that limiting the number of parties and sweet treats will have the greater long-term impact of helping to combat the bombardment of junk food marketing that kids face. While limiting the number of sweet treats may not do all that much to truly combat obesity, it could help to shift focus towards healthier alternatives.
"We can't compete with the cola and the punch [companies]," Renard is quoted as saying in a PennLive.com report. "They have millions of dollars. There has to be a shift in how our culture looks at it."