Should junk food be allowed at school?
Junk food is generally defined as “a diet high in processed foods and soft drinks” (Wiles et al., 2009, p.1). By definition, junk food contains artificial food colorings and preservatives, including fast food, oily foods, snacks and high sugary beverage. Students usually eat snacks between meals. According to McPhail et al. (2011), the snacking habit among students has increased in the past twenty years. This means students are taking more junk food in a higher chance every day. It is generally recognized that junk food is bad for health, while some scholars and researches argued that healthy snacks are beneficial to adolescents.( Martine et al. , 2011) However, the effects of junk food to teenagers offset the benefits to them. This essay examines reasons why junk food should be discouraged and eventually banned at schools.
Apparently, junk food has low nutritional value which is not beneficial to adolescents. Based on a survey carried out by McPhail et al. (2012), adolescents eat snacks about three times per day on average, and 27% of calories that are consumed as junk food. In addition, junk food is high in fats, solid oil and added sugar. The finding demonstrates that junk food has low nutritional value. However, adolescents still consume junk food frequently. A research shows that children consume snacks mostly in the afternoon at school and after school (Richards et al., 2009) because students can buy snacks and soft drinks from tuck shop at school easily. The review concludes that if junk food were banned at school, the probabilities of adolescents to consume high calorie junk food would be greatly reduced as possible.
The second problem brought by junk food is health disease. An American study has contributed to the thesis that junk food in schools leads to adolescent’s obesity (Datar & Nicosia, 2012). The main reason is that junk food is easy to access around school either from vending machines, canteens, tuck shops. According to Vardavas et al. (2006), the effects of obesity can lead to many health problems and it is due to the imbalanced eating habit. Eating too much snacks which contain a lot of sugar and fat would cause health problems like hyperglycemia, teenage diabetes (Xu, He & King, 2005). In one published study (McPhail et al., 2012) proves that the overconsumption of snacks has been associated with health disease including diabetes and insulin resistance. The increase of junk food intake has a direct proportion to the trend of obesity. It claims that junk food causes health problems cannot be denied.
Thirdly, children are easily addicted to junk food. Although many people would argue that banning junk food at school is an unwise act as snacks can contribute to the diet diversity and provide an immediate energy source to students from the glucose inside candies and chocolates, a research shows that the overweight problems of adolescent have a positive relationship to in-school junk food purchase (Datar & Nicosia, 2012). It states that children lack the ability to stop eating junk food rationally. Therefore, banning junk food in school would be the best choice due to the effectiveness of cutting calorie’s intake of students.
However, others may object because junk food can also enhance academic performance. An argument states that having snacks in the afternoon causes positive effects on cognitive performance (Robin, 1997). A test of the research shows that students respond faster on attention tasks and memorizing more digits after consuming high energy food such as chocolate. This argument supports school should not restrict junk food sale since these food definitely helps student to have better academic performance at schools. In fact, a study (Wiles et al,2009) illustrates that children consume more junk food have lower intake in vitamins, some vital fatty acids and minerals that build and maintain cell function of brain. This would long...
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