Vending Machines in Schools

Kids in school that consume food that was purchased from vending machines have a greater chance of having a lower quality diet. This can lead to being overweight, obese and more having health problems such as diabetes, and heart disease, according to a study from the University of Michigan Medical School.

The study also compared the USDA lunch program to school food stores and snack bars and found that the foods sold in these venue posed the same health risks as vending machines.

Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., the leader of the study said “The foods that children are exposed to early on in life influence the pattern for their eating habits as adults”

The research looked at 2,309 children in grades 1 through 12 from different schools across the country. Out of the surveyed students, 22 percent consumed food from vending machines with high schools having the most amount of vending machines. Eighty-eight  percent (88%) of high schools had vending machines compared to 52 % at middle schools  and 16 percent at elementary schools.

The foods that are mostly consumed in vending machines are:

• Soft drinks

• Desserts

• Fried snacks

• Candy

• Snack Chips

• Crackers

• Cookies

• Cakes

• Ice cream.

The results of this study appear in the September issue of the Journal of School Health.

Kakarala said, “Consumption of vended foods and beverages currently offered in U.S. schools is detrimental to children’s diet quality,” and “Childhood obesity, resulting from poor dietary choices, such as those found in this study, greatly increases the risk for many chronic diseases. A healthy school food environment can reduce these dietary risks.”

The authors of the study recommend schools set up guidelines restricting vended and poor quality foods and beverages. They recommend foods such as fresh fruit, yogurt, low-fat milk, juice and sandwiches instead of high caloric foods.

The researches also recommended nutrition education programs to teach kids the importance of eating healthy.

We all want our kids to eat healthy so talk to your kids and try to keep them away from the vending machines that have junk food in them. Try to send them to school with a quality lunch, a healthy beverage and a nutritious snack or, talk to your school about keeping healthy snacks and foods in the vending machines.

In contrast to this study, I found a website called – Vending Machines in Schools. This site talks about how vending machines can teach kids about nutrition and health, and provide good nutritious choices in the machines.

Are there any vending machines in your kid’s school? If so, what type of foods are in them.

If you enjoyed this post, then make sure you subscribe to my e-mail list.

Best – Mike Cola

Fitness Contrarian – Fitness Blog

About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York.Connect with Mike @ Google+

5 Responses to “Vending Machines in Schools”

  1. Thankfully no vending machines but the canteen isn’t as healthy as it could be.
    I would like the schools to drive nutrition a bit harder i.e at least picking the rights foods.
    As children they can get away with eating junk more often than not …but if they keep the same habits up as they move into teens and young adulthood there is a good chance of obesity occurring.

  2. There are no vending machines at my kids schools either but the food choices in the cafeteria could be a lot better.

    I agree with you . Kids can get away with not eating perfect when they are young but when they become older poor eating habits will catch up with them. All we can do as parents is to set good examples and prepare whole natural foods at home.

    Best – Mike

  3. Mike,

    Vending machines are dangerous. They are all over the place, not just in schools. If schools and workplaces got rid of these, they would save money and have healthier kids and employees. Seems like a no brainer to me. But I guess if they did that, people would probably riot.


  4. @ Alkyhan

    Lucky for me that there are no vending machines at my kids school.

  5. “Thankfully no vending machines”. First off, if we’re going to take away vending machines, let’s shut down the McDonalds around the corner too. Healthy diets don’t start in the hallways, they start at home. There is not a single reason why a child shouldn’t know a vending machine doesn’t offer healthy alternatives. If they chose to have a snack once in a while- so what? The argument that kids are obese or unhealthy because of vending machines is an excuse for the lack of education that starts at home.