The vendors who sell food items in common places like right outside schools are the major cause of numerous health related problems amongst children. Poor quality of diet is a prime consequence of such food consumption and a popular and important food and beverage issue. The school children are affected by problems like obesity, which sets the path for incoming of further health problems and chronic diseases. This has also been proven by a research report from the University of Michigan Medical School. The research has shown other facts that the consumption of food by school stores, snack bars and similar sales are equally contributing to onset of deadly diseases like diabetes and coronary artery disease.
Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., clinical lecturer of internal medicine at U-M Medical School has said it is the early habits of children that are later reflected on their food consuming habits as they grow older. The studies prior to this have revealed that the nutritional values have gradually reduced and the adverse effects it is causing to school children are mainly due to competitive foods and beverages at sale in vending machines and other snack bars. (What’s your child drinking from their cup holder?)
The food intake data was analyzed by researchers from about 2309 children studying in 1-12 grades in various schools across the country. An average of 22 percent of children intake vended food. Among all the high schools, 88 percent of the schools had active selling vending machines. Competitive food consumers have high sugar content, low fiber and vitamin B levels, when compared to non-consumers. Soft drinks and other beverages in stores and vending machines are most commonly consumed instead of beverages like milk and fruit juices. Snack chips, crackers, cookies, cakes, ice cream and candies are also added in list of vended food. An important fact in this study is that there is no discrimination on the consumption based on family income, race or ethnicity. So eve those using wheelchair accessories are just as much at risk as those who don’t.)
According to Kakarala, only a healthy food environment can help reduce the dietary risks amongst the school children. The study authors have asked the school administrators to design specific guidelines that check the consumption of competitive food and beverages. The schools have also been recommended to encourage health promoting food items like milk or juice in a drink holder, sandwiches, fresh fruits etc.
Kakarala says that smarter eating choices can be made by enforcing healthy school food policies and resources. It is a great risk for the children to rely on food of vending machines and thus, the food items must be over a USDA-choice lunch or should be home made.