School Vending Machines: Why Your Kid Is Fat

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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 causing this obesity epidemic? Where’s the fault? It’s hardly fair to blame the children themselves; They’re too young to make wise food choices when their parents aren’t around. And what if her parents are there? What are you teaching your kids about healthy eating habits? You can do your best at home and serve a balanced, properly portioned meal for dinner, but children spend most of their time at school, where you have no control over what they eat or 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 children need to maintain an appropriate body weight. Where else do children get food at school? The dreaded school machines take your kids’ money and make them fat.

The Effects of Eating Junk Food in School

There are many reasons why children don’t have to eat junk food in school. It affects not only their physical health but also their mental health. Eating a lot of empty calories and processed junk doesn’t fill you up and zaps your energy. Children get no “value” from this type of food. It doesn’t fuel their bodies and doesn’t give them the energy to perform throughout the day. They will have a sugar rush that is quickly followed by a sugar crash that will leave them wanting another sugar “high” and the vicious cycle continues. The same applies to salty, carbohydrate-rich snacks. Carbohydrates simply turn into sugar and have the same effect on a child’s metabolism. A junk food diet also causes children to lose focus, feel sluggish, and do poorly in classes and exams. Blood flow can even slow down when you eat too much junk food and fat impedes blood flow. Brain capacity can also be compromised as a constant diet of junk food leads to a lack of oxygen, nutrients and protein for your brain. Other effects include heart disease and high cholesterol. As you can imagine, these health issues as a young child can have a huge impact on a child’s life in the long run. It is much more difficult to fix these health problems than to avoid them in the first place. Fat kids grow into fat adults, which is why over 25% of Americans are obese. Learning the right eating habits as children will help these children maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage as they grow older. School vending machines do NOT help children make healthy eating choices.

Why do schools have vending machines?

It seems so obvious that if you remove vending machines from schools, the kids will eat better. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Our schools are terribly underfunded and vending machines provide them with a stream of profits they need for their operating budgets. Schools receive money from the government under the National School Lunch Program, which feeds more than 30 million children in over 101,000 schools every day. But it’s just not enough. A dollar per student is not enough to provide them with a healthy meal. Therefore, schools complement cafeteria offerings by adding vending machines as another dining option for students. Vending machine profit margins are huge because the markup is so high. And students will keep coming back to the vending machines because of the addictive power that sugar and carbohydrates have on the body.

Changes in store for school sale

There’s a light at the end of the junk food tunnel. A bill is due to be voted on that could mark the end of the school vending machine era. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Children Act will give schools more money and allow the Secretary of Agriculture to set nutritional standards for schools. Parents and schools can also play a big role in our children’s eating habits. Schools can voluntarily remove junk food vending machines and/or replace them with healthy vending machines that provide kids with food choices that keep them full and help them focus throughout the day. Parents, the real change must come from you. Start with the way you eat. Children see what you eat and are more likely to listen to your nutritional advice when you eat healthily yourself. You can’t eat pizza and expect your kids to eat salad. Get your kids involved in cooking healthy meals. The more they invest in the process, the more likely they are to eat something they don’t normally enjoy. Perhaps most importantly, parents need to put pressure on their children’s schools to make the necessary changes. Most school administrators will leave the vending machines where they are unless encouraged to remove them. If you care about your children’s health, schools will be forced to change.

We all know that changes need to happen to help our children get back on track. They are just too fat and the schools and parents are to blame. However, vending machines are the main culprit as they continue to feed our kids junk food that affects their health and ability to learn. Change must come from both parents and schools to remove these machines and improve our children’s chances in life. Your success in school, study, work and health depends on it.

Thanks to Austin Brawner

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