Vending Machines in Schools
With approximately 17% of children between the ages of 2-19 being obese, why are we allowing our schools to provide vending machines that are full of junk food to our children? The fact is, schools are terribly underfunded and the vending machines offer them a profit stream they need for their budget. Schools are using the profits from the vending machines for after school activities, computer, school programs, etc. The problem isn’t really the vending machines themselves; it’s what is being put in them. Sugary soft drinks, candy bars and chips are the leading sellers in these vending machines. Since most vending machines in schools contain foods that are nutritionally empty and calorie dense, the kids routinely eat these junk foods. Making poor food choices can lead them down a path to obesity, diabetes and other health problems. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.
Parents are sending money with their children for a nutritious lunch but with vending machines being so easily accessible there is no control over whether their child is going to pick school lunch or something out of the vending machine. Quick, convenient and tasty junk food selections from vending machines are discouraging children from making healthy food choices. It doesn’t matter how much parents encourage healthy eating at home, many younger children do not have the discipline to choose an apple over candy or chips. There is also a lack in physical activity not only during school but after school as well. Many public schools are eliminating the physical education part of schools due to budget cuts. Children are not learning how to be physically active and then they go home to watch tv or play on the computer. Eating poorly and lack of excersise is causing the obesity rates to skyrocket. In 1995, researchers predeicted that nearly all Americans would be overweight by the year 2030 if current trends continue (Dalton, 1). Its hard...
Cited: Cynthia Ogden, Ph.D., and Margaret Carroll, M.S.P.H. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_child_07_08/obesity_child_07_08.htm. 4 June 2010.
Dalton, Sharron. Our Overweight Children. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004.
Poppendieck, Janet. Free for All. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
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