Healthier Colorado–an anti-obesity organization in Colorado–is publicizing the results of a new poll the organization commissioned. In particular, the group is touting the results of one of the polling question:



Yet, this reaction from Laura Carno on Twitter makes an important point:



Carno’s exactly right. Why is it the government’s job to tell daycare companies how to operate? Does Healthier Colorado think parents are incapable of telling their daycare provider, “hey, please don’t let my kid drink soda, okay?”

How hard is that?

People who drop their kids off at daycare often have a list of requirements for their kid: he or she likes these snacks, he needs this medicine, she has to have sun block on before she goes outside…

Clearly, instructions not to allow certain beverages can be added to the list.  Yet, Healthier Colorado thinks parents need help—in the form of government interaction.

Yet, Coloradans should know that government action is catchy. Regulators like to start with obvious outrages: “What? Soda in day care facilities! Something must be done!” Sure, that sounds like a good idea but regulators rarely stop there. After pushing around daycare owners, they’ll move on to the soda sold in grocery and convenience stores (“soda should be taxed!) and sodas sold in vending machines in schools (“Get rid of them, replace it with water and juice”—juice that happens to have more sugar than soda), and in restaurants (“let’s limit the size cup a soda can come in!”). Pretty soon, it becomes too pricy to buy a bottle of soda. See how that works?

Healthier Colorado’s website has a blog where it posts a variety of articles on children’s health. Interestingly, the blog features an article from the Colorado Springs Gazette titled “Access to information helps parents make the best decisions for children.” I’m glad Healthier Colorado support giving parents information. That’s really all they should support.

Healthier Colorado means well and they clearly care about kids’ health (I was glad to see they support vaccinations), but telling daycare facilities to behave in a certain way is a step too far. Let these businesses run the way the owner deems fit and encourage parents to know what their kids are being fed at these facilities. We know that parental involvement is key to keeping kids healthy. Encouraging parents to stay involved—even when they drop the kid off at daycare—seems a far better route to healthy kids than advocating limits on consumer choice, levying taxes on an already overtaxed consumer, and demanding certain actions from private businesses.