School Vending Machines Still Offer Unhealthy Snacks

school vending machinesChild obesity has been the topic at hand recently. Weight in general has been on everyone’s mind, and it’s apparently going to continue until serious changes are made. In a recent survey of elementary schools, about half still have access to unhealthy snacks in school vending machines. Back in 2007 the Institute of Medicine recommended that school meal programs be the main source of nutrition for kids as opposed to vending machines. Despite their recommendations, not much change occurred between 2006 to 2010. More than half of elementary school students are able to purchase food from outside sources.

What is even more disheartening is that access to healthy food, excluding school meal programs, was limited. Researcher Lindsey R. Turner commented, “Because children spend many hours in school, changes are needed to make the school environment healthier by limiting the availability of less healthy food products. ” In 2010 the U.S. Department of Agriculture set a standard that schools may not sell food of little nutritional value in the cafeteria during lunchtime, but they can be sold in vending machines at any time.

It’ll be hard to completely rid vending machines of typical snacks and replace them with healthier options. Instead, we need to instill good eating habits at home and at school, teach children about healthy food, and warn them of the health risks that come with obesity.