There is something wrong when salsa passes as a vegetable in the school cafeteria and students can buy soda and candy from vending machines on campus. With this in mind we can only begin to wonder what the future holds for today’s adolescents. When students are exposed to a life of poor nutrition, the result can be obesity and regrets.
For countless Canadian children breakfast or lunch drops out of a vending machine at school. This can be a can of soda, perhaps washing down a chocolate bar followed by a bag of potato chips. Students may be junk food junkies but the schools are hooked as well and have become increasingly dependent on the revenue that soda and candy machines bring in each year. While soda sales may help supplement the school’s bottom line health experts are increasingly worried that soft drinks are contributing to a student’s poor health. “It was concluded that teen-aged boys’ soda consumption has tripled in the last 20 years and doubled for girls” (Winter). “Teens now drink twice as much soda as milk” (Brasher). Conversely, children are taught in the classroom about good nutrition and the value of healthy food choices but are surrounded by vending machines, school stores and fund raisers offering low nutrient density options. They receive the message that good nutrition is merely an academic exercise. ‘In a similar way pizza and candy are the highest reward used for good behaviours, attendance and academic achievement’ (Brasher). Children spend a lot of time in schools and are afforded a great deal of freedom in selecting snack foods. Schools can and should provide an environment that exemplifies a healthier relationship with food.
The rising obesity rates in children are shocking but considering that kids live in a junk food, couch- potato culture that is not surprising. “A recent research report from the University of Kentucky showed that 84 percent of food sold in school vending machines