Paradise Lost (in the School Cafeteria)

"They eat, they drink, and in communion quaff sweet immortality and joy," wrote poet John Milton of Adam and Eve's life before the fall. But high school students in Lafayette County, Indiana don't have to read Milton to feel the progenitorial couple's loss. Recently, leaders in the county's three school districts have replaced fattening cafeteria and vending machine delicacies like nachos and sugary sodas with more wholesome fare such as vegetables and fruit juices.

Harrison High School junior Hope Gerlach summed up the healthier victuals as simply "too gross to eat." West Lafayette junior Lauren Horner described the changes in psychological terms: "In the vending machines, there's no chocolate...It's kind of depressing."

Yet Tippecanoe School District's own Gabriel, physician Dr. Steven Lipp, insists that the changes, a response to districts' state-mandated wellness policies, will help encourage students to make better lifestyle choices.

Many students are walking more during lunchtime--to local convenience stores and fast-food joints. Paradise may be lost in the school cafeteria, but it's serving super-sized combos just down the road.

"Students Spurn Healthy Lunches," The Indianapolis Star, September, 12, 2006.

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