Healthy Habits Formation: Should Schools Sell Junk Food

While eating junk food tastes great, fills one up, and offers many a great dose of energy for a short amount of time, its limited nutrients fail to aid any student in school. The rising rates of obesity and poor performances in school are creating problems for students across the globe. With healthy food being placed in schools, students will be positively impacted both mentally and physically. So, there is a question, should schools sell junk food?

While junk food can help a student grind through their day which the help of extra sugars and calories, the truth behind the debate is that healthy food can actually prove to help students focus better in school. According to the University of Alberta, “Researchers evaluated the lifestyle and performance of 5,000 people, from which, 19% failed their literacy tests. People who consumed more healthy foods did better on literacy tests than people eating fatty foods” (Capano). The results obviously presented a change in concentration and focus depending on what the students ate. But what exactly was affected in the students? The brain. The human brain consists of 85% water and the hydrating, rich foods that include vegetables and fruits, prove to be the best fuel for the human brain. According to Psychology Compass, “The production of neurotransmitters – responsible for better executive functioning and hormones within the brain, rely on water. Therefore, when you’re giving your body the adequate amount of water, you will be able to think faster by 14%, stay focused for longer, and be more creative” (“Eating Your Way”). The energy given by such foods provide long term effects and are steady which, therefore, are the true source to help a student grind through their day. Consuming foods with high amounts of sugar and salt in school will only result in students being hyperactive at times, and drowsy at other times.

Another key point in how healthy food can benefit students are their physical health. Specifically, reducing obesity rates and risks of heart disease. A study published from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented that, “One in five children between the ages of 6 and 19 suffers from obesity” (“Why School Meals Matter”). Doing the math, the amount of students that suffer from obesity, is evident. It leads to heart diseases, diabetes, and eventually, death. One key factor that helps reduce the risk of obesity, however, is healthy food. An equally important statistic published by the CDC showed that there was, “a significant 40% decline in obesity rates from 2003 to 2012 in younger children ages 2 to 5 years eating healthy” (“Why School Meals Matter”). How healthy foods can help obesity ties in with cholesterol. Healthy foods that contain rich fiber, for example, whole grains, pears, apples, etc. contain healthy amounts of high-density lipoprotein (HLD). These proteins essentially act as a body cleaner and removes any extra cholesterol that builds up in one’s arteries. The liver then removes these toxins reducing one’s risks of any heart disease (Holland). Schools getting blamed for students with high rates of obesity and high blood pressure is something they certainly won’t want to deal with. The best judgment remaining is to rule out junk food and bring upon healthy food.

A great number of critics against the advised idea argue that exercising after eating junk food would not cause a great deal of obesity in students. While it may be true that exercise plays an important role in keeping fit, eating junk food and exercising isn’t that simple. What food one eat signals certain hormones in their body which can indicate to either store or burn fat (Smith). Calories gained by junk food trigger different reactions in one’s body compared to healthy food (Smith). Moreover, a recent article published by the Men’s Journal compared spinach with junk food. It stated, “Sugar is the key player driving up insulin levels. The result: It gets stored as fat. Whereas the spinach would trigger other hormones like glucagon, insulin’s sister hormone that releases fat to burn for energy” (Smith). So, eating foods, such as a bag of chips or a chocolate chip cookie before beginning a workout would only result in stored fat in the body and ultimately laziness. Along with the already stored fat caused by junk food, the motivation to exercise doesn’t occur.

When one considers the physical and mental benefits of healthy food on students, it’s evident that promoting this fact throughout schools across the world should be in effect. Taking junk food once an occasion isn’t a big deal, but when it comes down to replacing it with nutritious foods everyday, it proves to be harmful for the human body. The next time a student debates over a bag of chips and an apple, they should think about how each choice could impact their life in and out of school. 

16 December 2021
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