Junk Food and School Meals
A malnourished person always makes his/her body fight in order to carry out such natural processes as growth or resistance to disease. For such people, it is extremely difficult to do some physical work. Furthermore, in most cases, undernutrition can affect the ability to learn, think and analyze. In malnourished pregnant women, fetus is in a great danger; such mothers will also have problems with breast milk. When the human body does not get enough food or in these products there are not enough nutrients necessary for life, such person will likely experience some negative effects of poor nutrition. Very often, different diseases appear as the result of a poor nutrition. Even when people have enough food, they still may suffer from malnutrition because they do not eat meals that contain sufficient nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
Poor nutrition in early childhood may lead to poor physical and mental development. Scientists state that slow growth processes are seen in more than 147 million children in developing countries. Iodine deficiency is the main cause of mental lagging and brain damage. Insufficient nutrition also affects the academic performance of schoolchildren. Some resources prove that children with poor nutrition, in the future, get less income than people with full nutrition. Thus, it is very important to eat only healthy food for every person and especially for school children.
The first two years of life is the best way to prevent early childhood malnutrition that causes tremendous harm to the young body. Scientists state that it is vitally important to give pregnant women and children under 1 year the necessary nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
Gastroenterologists believe that fast or junk food by itself is not the cause of the disease. But it causes exacerbation of chronic diseases. It also can make a chronic form of a disease out of an acute one. The thing is that junk food is the only food our stomach need in our crazy rhythm of life that is full of stresses.
But it doesn’t mean that people should give preference to the ordinary food and certainly make it as an everyday meal. First of all, junk food is not able to provide children with the necessary amount of vitamins, including A, C, D as well as minerals that are needed for their everyday life. In addition, fresh fruits and vegetables are rare visitors to the menu of schools and fast food restaurants. Furthermore, special sauces are often used with junk food. But only some people know that they cause a serious thirst.
The main principle of business people that are involved in the fast food business is more fat – more money. Fats have much calories, yet they are cheap and with help of special additives, they can easily prepare the most delicious and tasteful meal with perfect appearance. Furthermore, junk and fast food leads to children and adult obesity. T. Lobstein, L. Baur, R. Uauy state:
The burden upon the health services cannot yet be estimated. Although childhood obesity brings a number of additional problems in its train – hyperinsulinaemia, poor glucose tolerance and a raised risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnoea, social exclusion and depression – the greatest health problems will be seen in the next generation of adults as the present childhood obesity epidemic passes through to adulthood. Greatly increased rates of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, endocrine disorders and other obesity-related conditions will be found in young adult populations, and their need for medical treatment may last for their remaining lifetimes. The costs to the health services, the losses to society and the burdens carried by the individuals involved will be great.
American nutritionists always joke that before the “McDonalds” Americans were
portrayed as slim cowboys; now as smiling fat men.
Tanner L. states:
In states with consistently strong laws in elementary and middle school, almost 39 percent of fifth-graders were overweight when the study began. That fell to 34 percent in eighth grade. Also, almost 21 percent of fifth-graders were obese, declining to about 18 percent in the eighth grade. In states with no relevant laws, almost 37 percent of fifth-graders were overweight and 21 percent were obese, and those numbers barely budged by eighth grade.
Every year, almost 300, 000 people in America die because of the complications associated with obesity. Many people call it an American eating crisis. Unfortunately, this crisis touches school children that get addicted to junk food habits very quickly.
Nowadays, any child can easily buy some candy bars, soda, chips or other junk food from vending machines. Moreover, different kinds of pizzas and hamburgers are served in school cafeterias. All these products make children not only addicted to a non-healthy diet pattern, but also worsen their health by provoking many diseases and obesity.
Thus, some states decided to fight this problem. For example in 2006, New Jersey, banned to sell soda, candies and other junk food meals. Dively J. claims:
if you go to school in New Jersey, your vending machines and school stores, along with the a la carte lines in your cafeterias, will no longer be able to sell snacks that are high in fat and loaded with sugar. Items that list sugar as the first ingredient will be eliminated and snacks will contain no more than eight grams of total fat and not more than two grams of saturated fat. Soda and junk food will be replaced with more-nutritious alternatives. You will still have choices, but instead of candy or chips, you may have to decide between an apples or carrot sticks.
It is the first step in preventing the use of junk food at school. Children have to get used to eating more healthy food. The role of teachers and school boards is very important while fighting this problem. They should constantly popularize and emphasize on the positive aspects of a healthy nutrition. By organizing different talks and explaining the negative effects of junk food on the children’s health, they will make them develop only healthy habits of eating. Children must realize that what they eat effects how they grow, think and feel. Special food skills must be developed in children. It should also be the part of their everyday education. Furthermore, eating habits should not be only limited by the school. Nowadays, parents pay less attention to their children nutrition as needed. They must also control the amount of junk food, their children eat at home.
Nowadays, it is very hard for children to fight the desire to eat junk food. As poor eating habits became a part of a national culture. Today, many TV commercials actively popularize different junk food products, including: tasteful cakes, candy bars and sodas that are attractively packed and tagged with a tempting sop. American nutritionists state that instead of popularizing highly seductive environment, the government should protect the children from poor eating habits.
Some studies also declare that approximately after 30 years, arteries start to log. It may cause heart attacks in the future. Such serious diseases as Osteoporosis and hypertension are also the results of forming poor eating habits in the childhood. It is also very important to control children’s eating habits during the puberty period because it may also lead to prostate and breast cancer.
In most cases junk food contains some additives that are inedible and harmful for children’s health. Such popular products as various kinds of chocolate, cola and flavored drinks are full of artificial colorings. Scientists claim that food coloring leads to hyperactivity and lapses of concentration in children.
During the school day, children need to be much concentrated and have much stamina.
Poor nutrition reduces the ability of children to learn, develop and make friends. It also affects the ability to play games, participate in sports and feel good at all.
In 2012, Obama adopted a new law that improved a nutrition situation at schools.
Dina Elboghdady states:
School cafeterias will be serving more-nutritious meals with twice as many fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and less sodium and fat under new guidelines that will revamp the federally backed school meals program for the first time in 15 years. The meals will continue to include pizza and french fries because Congress, after heavy lobbying from the food industry, derailed the Obama administration’s original plan to limit tomato paste and starchy vegetables such as potatoes.
But on the other hand, it is not easily to apply healthy way of life to ordinary people and especially children. First of all, there are a lot of different places outside the school where children can buy junk food products. According to a survey, in which participated approximately 3,900 schools nationwide, almost half of the students buy food outside school. Second, some schools banned potato chips, soda, and pastries, but there are still many other junk food products served in schools, including pizzas, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers etc. Third, junk food ban, will never teach youngsters how to make their ration healthy; it is just one more rule forbidding doing something. Fourth, paying more attention to physical training will definitely make the situation better.
Thus, the problem of a bad nutrition at school is very important nowadays. Government together with the local authorities should not only ban some sorts of food but also take some additional measures in order to fight this problem. Malnourished person is endangered to suffer from such diseases as cancer, heart attack, obesity etc. Nowadays, a huge number of people are obese and in most cases it is the result of poor eating habits. It is very important for children to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables that are rich in phytonutrients that protect them from different diseases, including cancer, hypertension and diabetes. The word “Balanced” means that at every meal one should consume proteins, fats and carbohydrates. A good approach to nutrition is everything in moderation.