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School Vending Machines: Why Your Kid Is Fat
School Vending Machines Make Students Obese
Let’s face it, kids in America are fat. In fact, almost 30% of them are obese! What is the cause of this obesity epidemic? Where is the fault? It is hardly fair to blame the children themselves; they are too young to make smart food choices when their parents aren’t around. And what if her parents are around? What are you teaching your children about healthy eating habits? You can do the best you can at home and serve a well-rounded, well-portioned meal at dinner time, but children spend most of their days at school where you have no control over what they eat and how much they eat . We all know that school lunches are not the healthiest meals in the world. Processed meals containing frozen meats and starches lack the essential fruits, vegetables and whole grains that children need to maintain a healthy body weight. Where else do children get food at school? The dreaded school vending machines take your children’s money and make them fat.
The effects of eating junk food at school
There are many reasons why children should not eat junk food at school. It not only affects their physical health, it also affects their mental health. Eating a bunch of empty calories and processed junk doesn’t fill you up and it saps your energy. Children get no “value” from this type of food. It does not fuel their bodies or give them energy to perform throughout the day. They will have a sugar rush, quickly followed by a sugar crash, causing them to want another sugar “high” and the vicious cycle continues. The same goes for salty carb-laden snacks. Carbohydrates simply turn to sugar and have the same effect on a child’s metabolism. A junk food diet will also cause children to lose focus, feel sluggish and perform poorly in class and on tests. Blood circulation can even slow down if you eat too much junk food and fat gets in the way of the blood stream. Brain capacity can also be compromised, as a steady diet of junk food will cause a lack of oxygen, nutrients and proteins in your brain. Further effects include heart disease and high cholesterol. As you can imagine, having these health problems as a young child can have a big impact on a child’s life in the long term. It is much more difficult to correct these health problems than it is to simply prevent them in the first place. Fat kids become fat adults, which is why more than 25% of Americans are obese. Learning good eating habits as a child will help these children maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage as they get older. School vending machines do NOT help children prepare healthy meals.
Why do schools have vending machines?
It seems so obvious that if you remove the vending machines in schools, children will eat better. It’s not that simple, unfortunately. Our schools are woefully underfunded and vending machines provide them with a profit stream they need for their operational budgets. Schools receive money from the government under the National School Lunch Program which feeds more than 30 million children in more than 101,000 schools every day. But it’s just not enough. One dollar per student is not enough to give them a healthy meal. So schools supplement cafeteria offerings by adding vending machines as another food option for students. The profit margins of vending machines are huge because the mark-up is so high. And students will visit the machines again and again because of the addictive power that sugar and carbohydrates have on the body.
Changes In Store For School Vending
There is a light at the end of the junk food tunnel. Legislation is up for votes that could mark the end of the school vending machine era. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will give more money to schools and allow the Secretary of Agriculture to establish nutrition standards for schools. Parents and schools can also play a big role in the eating habits of our children. Schools can voluntarily remove junk food vending machines and/or replace them with healthy vending machines that offer kids food choices that fill them up and help them focus throughout the day. Parents, the real change has to come from you. Start with the way you eat. Children see what you eat and they are more likely to listen to your nutritional advice if you eat healthy food yourself. You can’t eat pizza and expect your kids to eat salad. Involve your children in cooking healthy meals. The more invested they are in the process, the more likely they are to eat something they normally don’t like. Perhaps most importantly, parents must put pressure on their children’s schools to make the necessary changes. Most school administrators will simply leave the vending machines in place if they are not encouraged to remove them. If you take a stand for your child’s health, schools will be forced to make a change.
We all know that change has to happen to help our kids get back on track. They are simply too fat and the blame lies with schools and parents. However, vending machines are the main culprit as they continue to provide our children with junk food that compromises their health and their ability to learn. Change must come from both parents and schools to remove these machines and improve the opportunities our children have in life. Their success in school, college, their professional life, and their health depend on it.
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