No fast food in public school

The typical American child wakes up to sugar-laden cereal accompanied by sugary juice, then watches a few minutes of television before going to school. After school, the same child enjoys pizza rolls or some other processed food that is ready after 90 seconds in the microwave. Following snack, the child is entertained by a few hours of video games or watching television, until dinner is ready. Dinner consists of partially processed meat, just-add-water salty side dishes and vegetables from a can. After more television, the child goes to bed. This is the sad reality for many American children. Many parents and care-givers offer the easy and convenient option instead of the more nutritious option. Now, school administrators want to surrender to convenience. The nutritious option involves more time and labor. Are children worth the better option? Yes. Because children are worth the better option, fast food restaurants should be prohibited from public school. Schools influence the way children think and behave for better or for worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can be difficult for children to make healthy food choices and get enough physical activity when they are exposed to environments in their home, child care center, school, or community that are influenced by sugar drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses (CDC). Lunches offered from school should represent the food choices kids should aspire to make. Most kids want pizza and French fries each day. Schools do not offer pizza and French fries every day because it would send the wrong message to kids. The typical school menu includes spaghetti, bread and a salad. The next day, turkey, mashed potatoes and a vegetable is served. The next day, the lunch menu includes fish sticks and tater tots. Quesadillas are served the following day. There is a wide variety with varying levels of nutritional benefit. The message to kids is to follow a balanced approach in making food choices. If fast food restaurants appear on campus, then nutritional balance disappears. If fast food is offered each day, the kids will see no problem eating it each day. The presence of fast food restaurants on campus will undermine some parents’ attempt to send nutritious food with their child. The best option for children is to bring a nutritious lunch from home. Ideally, a child will bring a sandwich made from whole grain bread with lean meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. After the sandwich, side options include apple slices, grapes, carrots, low-fat chips, yogurt, popcorn or crackers. Is it right for the child with a nutritious lunch from home to be forced to smell McDonald’s’ French fries? The scent of fast food will appeal to most children. Children will prefer fast food over lunch from home. Furthermore, many children struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This disorder is linked to diet in many cases. It is borderline unethical for schools to serve foods that could alter the behavior of some students. While fast food restaurants serve mediocre food, they offer an important role in our society. Fast food restaurants exist to offer a meal when the need is immediate and time is limited. Emergencies happen frequently. When a parent receives a call from school notifying them of a sick child, the parent must rush to school then to a doctor’s appointment. A parent caring for a sick child does not have time to cook. A fast food meal provides the immediate need for food. This scenario fits the purpose of fast food restaurants. Some low-income families depend on school lunches as their child’s most nutritious meal. Christian Science Monitor recently reported that In the United States as a whole, nearly 15 million children live in poverty. The report also stated that “ There has been a ” significant decline” in economic well-being for low-income children and families over the past decade as the official child poverty rate grew by 18 percent and poverty levels for families with children increased in 38 states, according to a new study. ” (Knickerbocker) These families receive government sponsored financial assistance to cover the cost of the meal. If traditional school lunches are replaced by fast food, the chances for low-income children to receive a nutritious meal decrease. In addition to the growing problem with childhood poverty, children are struggling with obesity. The childhood obesity rate has tripled in the past thirty years. The CDC reports that childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity (CDC). This is a serious problem for all Americans. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe. A 2009 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with RTI International (a nonprofit research group), found that the direct and indirect cost of obesity ” is as high as $147 billion annually.” The study was based on figures collected in 2006. The study found that in 2006, obese patients spent an average of $1, 429 more for their medical care than did people within a normal weight range. That is a 42 percent higher cost for people who are obese. (Holden) Offering fast food to students will not help to solve the obesity problem in this country. The problem could worsen. Children and parents deserve a better effort from school officials. They need administrators to keep nutritious food choices in schools. School administrators must think beyond the district’s income statement as they look for ways to generate revenue. Children are suffering because adults have chosen to offer the easy and convenient option to children. It is time for school officials and other influential adults to take a stand against fast food in schools because you are what you eat. Sources 1. Holden, Diana. “ Fact Check — The Cost of Obesity. ” CNN. com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 9 Feb. 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. 2. Knickerbocker, Brad. “ Report: Child Poverty Rate His 20 Percent in US as Families Struggle. ” Csmonitor. com. The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Aug. 2011. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. 3. United States. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity — A Growing Problem. Nov. 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. .