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The Growing Problem of Junk Food in Schools

written by: Julia Bodeeb • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 3/2/2012

More and more students are facing obesity and diabetes, yet many schools still offer junk food options. Is this wrong? Should schools be forced to remove junk food machines and other unhealthy food choices?

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    Teenage Health Crisis

    News programs constantly report that rates of high blood pressure and diabetes type 2 are soaring in teenagers. Could all the junk food available at school be contributing to this epidemic of poor health in teenagers? Why do schools keep the cafeteria and the halls stocked with junk food vending machines that pump high doses of sugar, fat, and salt into teenagers day in and day out?

    Will the trend of serious disease in teenagers continue to be a mandate to President Obama and Congress to outlaw junk food in all public schools in America?

    Right now it seems that some school districts are putting profits before the health of the students. School districts make a lot of money off the junk food sold in vending machines throughout the school. Should they be forced to get rid of the machines, and find a more positive way to do fund raising?

    Do school districts make decisions based on finances or do they truly put the well being and health of the students first? The obesity epidemic in teenagers is a true national health crisis.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2006 “32% of states prohibited junk food machines in schools."Also, “In 2006, 77% of high schools sell soda … and 61% sell salty snacks not low in fat."The CDC also indicates that “Only 2% of high schools provided daily physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year for students in all grades."

    So it seems most public schools are still full of junk food machines and students do not get their physical education classes regularly. Does America need to work on making public schools healthy again?

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    Wired on Sugar by Homeroom?

    Many teachers have seen students arriving to homeroom already ingesting a large bottle of soda and eating a lot of junk food. Some kids bring backpacks jammed full of junk food into the classroom. Many students are heavily “sugared up" during the typical school day. This may make them hyper at first and then sluggish as the sugar levels become overwhelming.

    As a teacher ask yourself: when was the last time you saw a student eat a piece of fruit as a snack? Do you see kids with healthy snacks or are they all munching on sugar laden treats and salty chips? Teenagers eat a lot of junk food high in sugar and very high in chemicals. What are all those chemical doing to the bodies of teenagers? How will the teenage obesity epidemic impact the future of today's high school students?

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    Junk Food Free Schools

    Should schools eliminate back packs to prevent students from toting around large amounts of junk food throughout the school day? Should schools eliminate all junk food machines and all junk food served in the cafeteria?

    Some educators feel that President Bush’s program:No Child Left Behind, has forced schools to eliminate physical education class to find time for extra Math and English classes. With President Obama at the helm of our country, it will be interesting to see how educational programs are changed.