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
• Fried snacks
• Snack Chips
• 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.
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Best – Mike Cola