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School Problems: Junk Food

By ancabelei Dec 04, 2013 1304 Words
School Problems: Junk Food
Today, many Americans focus on drastic diets to help them become healthier, and they give up on them as soon as they see a piece of cake in the refrigerator or even drive by the local burger joint on their way home; they think why go buy something healthy that costs more rather than just stopping by McDonald’s and buying a $1 burger? Just like many people going on diets, many schools in the United States are thinking the same thing. Many high schools throughout the country have started minimizing the amount of junk food and sugary soft drinks, and replacing them with healthier alternatives; but is this decision really beneficial to them? Rather than receiving money from the vending machine companies from their contracts, the schools are seeing a huge loss in revenue because students no longer purchase the new healthy food from the vending machines, and just go to the local grocery store to satisfy their junk food needs. In their article, “Removing Junk Food from Schools Had Many Consequences,” Jessica Blanchard and Casey McNerthney point out that many schools would have to bring back vending machines and unhealthy lunches because of budget cuts, unhappy students, and the fact that they were losing money, there are many more options that were not discussed, that would enable the schools to still have the healthy food that students need on campus. In the original article, Blanchard and McNerthney stated that budget cuts prevent schools from completely banning vending machines with unhealthy food, but there are many different options that would not cause schools to sell unhealthy foods to the student body. In Marion Nestle’s article, Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity is brought to light; in her campaign, Obama is working with companies to develop better options and marketing strategies. Because of Obama’s campaign, PepsiCO announced that by the year 2012 they would stop pushing sales of full-sugar soft drinks to primary and secondary schools. This decision made by PepsiCo was implemented to all schools in 2012, and the company states that schools will make the decision to bring PepsiCo’s products into their schools, and that their new policy “encourages rather than mandates” schools to make their decisions (Nestle). In another article by Anne Hart, the issue of fundraising is discussed; many schools are facing budget cuts and one option of raising money for various school activities has become fundraising. Many schools look to fast food chains for catering when it comes to school events, but what many schools don’t know is that they can get catering from local eateries that are much healthier than the original “hamburger, fries, and soda (Nestle).” The term “budget cuts” is becoming more and more familiar in today’s society; however, it should not be the reason that schools are choosing to switch back to unhealthier options. According to Blanchard and McNerthney, students are also unhappy with the new food choices, but if schools would consider options such as making the food more appetizing or consider healthier options, many more students would be content and approve of the new choices. Schools are trying to push healthier lunches for the students, and so far it’s been working; students have become more used to these new foods and are trying them even though their names might be a bit complicated. New menu items include: butternut squash soup, mushroom risotto, zucchini and red onion flan, organic black bean tortillas, and pineapple gratin (“Should Junk Food Be Sold in Schools”). Instead of having these traditional school lunches that are served, students would have hot lunches that are healthier and better for them. These new lunches would have more vegetables or fruits incorporated, but it would be done in a way which would be appetizing to students and make them want to eat it, and enjoying these lunches which would make them happier knowing that they are eating something healthy and tasty. As a result of Michelle Obama’s new campaign, Kraft Foods has agreed to “reduce the sodium in their products by 10 percent by the year 2012 (Nestle).” Schools don’t necessarily have to buy products from Kraft Foods, but they could choose healthier options such as these, which would enable students to still eat the foods they like, but with a healthier twist. Looking into healthier options should be considered in many of these schools, and should be implemented to ensure a healthier student body. By buying products with less sodium or sugars, students would still be able to eat the foods they love, but with a healthier twist. Many students are unhappy of the new decisions to make school lunches healthier, but they don’t have to be, if it is done right. Another topic that Blanchard and McNerthney bring up, is that many schools were losing money and feared that they would have to re-implement the unhealthy food options, but as previously stated, there are other options to bring back the lost revenue. In her article, Anne Hart mentions different fast food companies that do provide healthier food options that are better than the original cheeseburger and fries. “Many schools have adapted to catering from Chick-Fil-A which offers options such as grilled chicken, or chicken patty sandwiches which are far healthier than options that fast food companies have had before,” reports Hart. Being smart and choosing healthier options has many great benefits and would help parents be more comfortable about what they feed their children. Hart also brings in the example of St. Andrew's School, a private school on Wilmington Island. St. Andrew’s held many fundraising events to help raise money for their new outdoor classroom, and did so without feeding anyone any fast food; St. Andrews hosted many family gathering events and even a “slow-food” dinner to help raise money for this classroom (Hart). A public school, Charles Ellis Montessori Academy, has also decided not to partake in fast-food partnerships for fundraising events because of “active parent interest and enthusiasm” for implementing healthier options for their children (Hart). These two schools have set great examples for schools all over this country, and have proven that raising funds for school activities is possible without fast-food partnerships. In their article, “Removing Junk Food from Schools Had Many Consequences,” Jessica Blanchard and Casey McNerthney point out that many schools will have to resort to bringing back the unhealthy food simply because it’s more beneficial; however, as proven above, there are ways to keep the healthier food options even though schools are facing budget cuts, an increase of unhappy students, and loss of revenue. These healthy options will make students healthier, happier, and have a better effect on their health later on in life.

Works Cited

Blanchard, Jessica, and Casey McNerthney. "Removing Junk Food from Schools Has Many Consequences." Should Junk Food Be Sold in Schools? Ed. Norah Piehl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. At Issue. Rpt. from "Seattle Students Getting Junk-Food Fix Elsewhere." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 19 Dec. 2006. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. Dunham, Will. "Junk Food Should Be Banned in Schools." Should Junk Food Be Sold in Schools? Ed. Norah Piehl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. At Issue. Rpt. from "Expert Panel Urges Junk Food Ban in Schools." Reuters, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. Hart, Anne. "Schools Should End Fast Food Partnerships." Should Junk Food Be Sold in Schools? Ed. Norah Diehl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. At Issue. Rpt. from "Hart to Heart: Junk the Fast-Food Partnerships with Elementary Schools. “Savannah Morning News” 13 Mar. 2010. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. Nestle, Marion. "School Nutrition Campaign Is Pushing the Food Industry to Adapt. "Should Junk Food Be Sold in Schools?” Ed. Norah Piehl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. At Issue. Rpt. from "Kudos for First Lady's Anti-Obesity Campaign."San Francisco Chronicle”4 Apr. 2010. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.

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