March 15, 2012
Junk Food Availability in Schools
When you think of junk food, you think about Twinkies, cupcakes, potato chips, candy bars, and all sorts of various snacks you may find in the grocery or convenient store. The true definition of junk food, as described in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is food that is high in calories and low in nutritional value. Because children spend more time in schools than in any other environment away from home, they have easy access to junk food through a vending machine or in the lunchroom cafeteria. Most students choose to purchase these snacks from either of the two because it is more convenient than packing a lunch. A quick snack to eat in between a few classes may appear harmless, but in the end it adds up. Snack after snack, students go about their day completely unaware of the harmful effects of all the unhealthy food they have consumed. Because these junk foods cause childhood obesity, cause heart disease and diabetes, and contributes to poor eating habits, junk food should not be made available in schools.
In an article “Should States Ban Junk Food?” it states that nearly 300,000 people die each year from complications associated with being obese or overweight (Codey, 1). Many children in schools walk past vending machines or enter school cafeterias where there is a significant amount of junk food being presented to them. Because many children skip breakfast, it is convenient for them to buy candy bars or chips through vending machines or the cafeteria. These foods are high in calories and contain lots of fat that cause a child to become obese. With limited exercise in schools, these calories don’t get a chance to burn off, causing children to progressively gain weight. In general, a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of schools with junk food is correlated with about 1 percent of increased body mass index for the average child (Gorman, 2)....