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Melody Nelson states in her article Hooked on “Caramel-Colored Gold” that vending machines selling junk food should be banned in schools. She cites many reasons why they should be banned. A few of the reasons that resonated were; promotion of poor nutritional choices through easy access, habits learned early in life cause more problems and cost more money in the future.
She also claims that administration that want to keep vending machines on campuses are not thinking of the students’ health but rather the funding these vending machines provide. Vending machines in schools while they provide funding, are ruining childhood nutrition, and causing long-term problems. Schools promoting junk food sales through vending machines are more concerned with money rather than students’ well-being. “This issue is about integrity.
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The school administrators seem to be willing to sacrifice theirs for money” (Nelson 5). It’s understandable that schools need to raise funds however, it should not be at the cost of children’s health. The school district I work for does not allow junk food vending machines. Although, a few of the schools do have a student store which sell chips and non-carbonated drinks these can only be purchased after school. “Unless teachers and parents get involved, not only will our nation’s children continue to be encouraged to sacrifice their health for education, but our public schools will become dependent on this “junk food” addiction to generate revenue” (Nelson 2). We know all too well; young children and teenagers do not make sensible choices when it comes to healthy eating.
We also know that having easy access, and inexpensive junk food vending machines will definitely promote poor choices. Nutrition education and healthy eating habits should start at home and often times they do yet “One student admits buying some chips and a Pepsi, even though her mother packed her some yogurt, cookies, and an apple” (Nelson 3). Unfortunately, sweet and salty snacks are formulated to be addicting, and our youth are drawn to them if they are available. “Despite the increased awareness of the benefits of good nutrition, we are a nation hooked on junk food” (Nelson 2).
Eating junk food may provide short-term “energy” but will not allow you to focus especially when coming down from a sugar “high”. Junk foods sold in vending machines are loaded with sugars, saturated fats, additives, preservatives, and sodium which can wreak havoc on the human body when eaten long-term. It has no actual nutritional value and lack the vitamins that children need to grow and develop. “Energy and focus are especially crucial for school-age children” (Fleck).
When children eat balanced meals, they will perform better in school. “…iron deficiency causes an energy crisis in the body and can have a negative effect on behavior, mood, attention span, and learning ability.” (Nelson 3). Consuming junk food can also cause a myriad of problems such as: obesity, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tooth decay just to name a few.
In closing, children are usually unaware that junk foods in vending machines are harmful to their bodies. We must educate and redirect children in choosing healthier food choices. School administrators need to find other ways to generate funds for their schools. If we continue to allow junk food vending machines in our children’s schools, our future will look even more dismal than it does today in regard to health problems and the consumption of junk food.
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