a: Create a clear thesis statement in response to one of the questions provided below. Answer the question based on the article provided.
b: Write a well-structured preliminary essay;
c: Use grammatical rules effectively.
Questions to choose from:
How can schools encourage students to make healthy choices?
How can advertisements influence people’s decisions to eat?
What can families do to reduce their intake of junk food?
Obesity is a problem in Canada—this is indisputable. But how far should the war against obesity go before it starts to cause new problems? This piece, published in the Globe and Mail on September 18, 2014, was written by Leah McLaren. It documents an example of the adverse effects when the war against obesity goes too far.
1You may have heard of Keenan Shaw, the 17-year-old student at Winston Churchill High School in Lethbridge, Alta., who got suspended this week for selling contraband soda pop on school property. This freckle-faced, glinty-eyed teenpreneur stocked his locker with a case of Pepsi, a beverage banned under the Lethbridge School District’s new nutritional guidelines (only diet pop is allowed). Hawking his wares at an undisclosed markup, Shaw sold out in minutes and pocketed a tidy profit, only to pour it into more cases of pop, which he promptly sold the following day.
2School administrators didn’t think his enterprising scheme was so sweet. They gave Shaw a warning, and when he refused to heed it, they suspended him. “I thought it was a joke. I didn’t know they could suspend me for selling pop,” Shaw complained to a reporter after the fact. His mother was also indignant, saying that while she understood the need for rules, suspension seemed a bit harsh. Besides, she liked the idea of her son “being an entrepreneur.”
3Bracketing for a moment the fact that actively praising your child in public for selling banned substances probably isn’t the wisest parenting strategy, let’s look at what’s actually going on here. For as long as I can remember, high school cafeterias were essentially the nutritional equivalent of a red light district—scary buffets of Tater Tots, gravy fries and quivering Jello bowls, with an obligatory platter of overripe, untouched fruit at the cash register.
4Things are much better now, in the post-Jamie Oliver school-lunch age. For one thing, schools these days have “nutritional guidelines,” and they actually pay attention to what kids are eating. With any luck, this means offering students food that might be good for them, or even culturally interesting, as opposed to providing them nothing but processed crap.
5Look, I’m all for sustainable-fish curry and quinoa in schools (what self-respecting bourgeois mother wouldn’t be?). But I do get unnerved when I hear about certain foods being “banned” on school property. This is because I grew up in a house where junk food was anathema. There was a single tin of heart-shaped spelt ginger snaps my mother kept on top of the fridge and my sister and I were allowed one each after dinner, but that was basically it. Even our peanut butter was the oily health food store kind that came from a grinder.
6As a result, I spent most of my late childhood obsessed with sweets. I’d comb the sofa cushions for spare change and sneak off school property at lunch hour to buy candy at the corner store. Back at school, I’d lock myself in a bathroom cubicle and feast on gummy worms and Fizz Whiz until my brain tingled with a glucose rush. My friend Amy, who had a candy dish on her coffee table (always full!) and pop in her fridge, thought my obsession was weird. “Why don’t you just come to my house after school and have a Sprite? We get it in club packs from Costco,” she’d say. And I did. But for me, that wasn’t the point. Sugar was verboten, so the pleasure was all in the sneaking.
7[This] brings us back to the enterprising young Shaw and his Lethbridge soda-pop racket. Is it actually possible that Winston Churchill High is to blame for creating the market that led Shaw to his entrepreneurial heights in the first place? By banning bad food, do we make it more alluring to our children, not less?
8Not necessarily, says my old friend Ceri Marsh, co-author of How to Feed a Family, a book based on the popular cooking-with-kids blog Sweet Potato Chronicles. In her view, bans on junk food in schools should be mandatory— like seatbelts and smoking laws. “It’s no exaggeration to say that when it comes to the dietary health of North American youth, we are in the middle of an outright crisis,” she says. “Sodas and garbage food are hugely to blame for that. Kids can get them, and they will get them. They just shouldn’t be able to get them at school.”
9Part of the problem, Marsh explains, is that we live in a culture that, for half a century or more, has normalized fast food and candy as regular stuff to eat. “Instead, we should be teaching our kids to be more discerning, to actually enjoy and be interested in real food that tastes good—and to see junk as a very, very occasional treat.”
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