Junk Food Lurking In Schools: Can It Be Stopped? Essay
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When you send your children off to school, you might worry about bullying or about their academic performance, but you generally don’t consider their lunch-time meal to be a potential problem. Now imagine, for a moment, your son or daughter is given the option between a juicy cheeseburger with greasy French fries and a healthier chicken salad. It’s a no-brainer what choice they will make. Now, stop imagining because you don’t have to. Instances like this are a reality everyday in many school cafeterias. In 2005, John Esterbrook, a writer for CBS News, reported on a government survey showing that junk foods are in competition with healthy counterparts in nine out of ten schools (par. 1). Today, although four years later, little…show more content…
Considering that “the obesity rates for adolescents have tripled” in the past 40 years, according to an editorial in The New York Times, something needs to be done (“Selling” par. 7). Sadly, obesity is not alone in the slew of effects from junk foods in schools. With the rising awareness of these problems, multiple studies have been completed that reveal shocking statistics. For example, a study done by Vanderbilt University in Tennessee discloses the not-so-surprising reality that students eating diets heavy in fast foods had scores that “dropped by up to 16 percent compared to the average [score]” (Paton par. 3). This research shows that there is a direct correlation between healthy diets and classroom performance. Because classroom performance is connected to what kids are eating, solving the junk food problem also will benefit many students’ classroom performance.
Our understanding of food has undergone many changes, but regulations governing what foods students eat have not. Many of the currently regulations that dictate what and how foods are prepared and served in schools were created in past years, sometimes up to ten years ago. Jennifer Kelleher, writing for Newsday, notes that the USDA has yet to update their school food standards “since the mid-1990s” (par. 7). With the rapid change in understanding of what makes something “healthy,” it is obvious that these regulations need to be updated to ensure that all children are provided with truly
Banning Junk Food And Sodas In Schools
Banning of junk foods and sodas in school has been contentious given the benefits and setbacks it has in the economic, social and nutritional aspects. The foods are generally characterized by a low nutritional value and their abundance of salt, sugar and calories. The emphasis on their use in educational institutions is mainly due to the high level of consumption given the large populations in them, and the early exposure to health conditions that are proven to result from junk foods and sodas.
One of the reasons why junk foods and sodas should be banned is because they facilitate health conditions such as obesity, which is a predisposing factor to heart diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure. 20% of adult Americans are obese, and about 300,000 people die annually from complications related with being overweight.
Once young people are encouraged to adopt health foods, future generations will have the culture of eating nutritious foods. It is evident that promoting and selling junk foods and sodas endorse their usage among students. Students spend most of their daytime in schools, an institution that is entrusted with the laying of firm foundations across various aspects, including healthy habits. Consequently, the converse promotion of healthy foods will be quickly embraced by students and hence a healthier society.
However, banning of junk foods and sodas is faced by some issues, the first being the actual definition of junk foods. It is inefficient to just state kinds of junk foods. Contrary, junk foods should be defined from the ingredients since some foods like pizzas can be considerably be either junk or nutritious.
The education system in America is designed to provide for communities control over schools. The control is rooted in democracy. School board members are bestowed with the responsibilities to develop policies that reflect the needs and opinions of the society. As such, the decision on what to be availed to students is determined by the board members, making the decision inapplicably determinable at national levels.
Banning of junk foods and sodas is further limited by the approach in its implementation. The ban includes removing the option for the foods instead of educating on making appropriate healthy choices. Therefore, teaching about nutrition could be a better way of approaching consequences of the use of junk foods and sodas. It is conclusive that the despite the effects of junk foods and sodas being profoundly adverse, banning them in schools may not be an adequate measure of counteracting their use.
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