May 03, 2022 5 min read

 

People of all ages have been drawn to junk food such as pizza, burgers, and soft drinks. Everyone loves junk food, whether it's teenagers, adults, children, or the elderly. It has been a part of our daily lives for the past 20 years or so.

You've been told since you were a child that junk food is terrible for you. So why do so many eateries continue to serve it? Why is it still a popular meal option for many people? And, more significantly, why do schools continue to offer it when they should be teaching healthy eating habits to students? There are a variety of reasons why junk food continues to be a popular meal option in today's society. Let's look at the benefits and drawbacks of junk food in schools.

 

Benefits of Junk Food in Schools

 

1) It Is Critical That Children Eat Something

 

Young person holding some cooked chips in a cardboard box near his mouth while licking his lips
 Credit: Getty Images/Eye Em

 

Every child is unique, with their own set of tastes and dislikes when it comes to food. Children cannot be forced to consume foods they dislike. Children dislike eating nutritious meals and are more likely to miss meals or waste food if they don't like it. If a youngster does not eat at school, their energy and immunity levels are likely to be decreased.

When they consume greasy burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs, most kids are content. For parents, knowing their child eats something at school rather than going hungry, even if it's junk food, is a satisfying and reassuring experience.

Allow your child to have a small amount of junk food at school if he or she likes it. When consumed in moderation, junk food is not a bad thing.

 

2) Junk Foods Are Easier To Control on School Grounds

 

Schools do have the authority to prohibit the consumption of junk food on their premises. At home, parents can restrict their children's access to these foods.

It's hard to entirely exclude all items that could be harmful to a person's health. If their favorite foods are not permitted, children will smuggle them in whenever they can. Rather than seeing these items as illegal, teachers and administrators should cooperate with parents to teach these children responsibility and accountability for their dietary choices by controlling their use.

 

3) It Offers a More Cost-Effective Option

 

A table of healthy fruit and vegetables with burgers, chips, pizza and sweets on the other half
 Credit: Site Valley

 

Not everyone can afford fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Junk food is simply a less expensive option. Students that come from poorer backgrounds require cost-effective solutions to ensure that they eat enough while at school. Schools with inadequate resources have little choice but to serve inexpensive junk food.

 

4) Children Will Crave Junk Food if It Is Not Permitted in Schools

 

When children are told that they cannot consume junk foods during the school day, they will crave them much more.

Gardening and fitness programs, as well as access to nutritional information, can teach children how to make their own healthy decisions rather than just banning them.

 

Drawbacks of Junk Food in Schools

 

1) Childhood Obesity Is Caused by Junk Food

 

A young person holding his big stomach to show the affects of eating too much junk food
Credit: Quint Fit

 

Processed foods are typically heavy in salt, fat, calories, and sugar, with little nutritional benefit. Obesity develops as a result of consuming unhealthy foods on a regular basis. Junk food has disturbingly high fat and sugar content that causes obesity.

Junk food meals are generally devoid of dietary fiber and other essential nutrients that aid in the maintenance of a healthy body. As a result, junk food consumption leads to rapid weight gain and increases the risk of chronic illnesses.

 

2) Junk Food Is Addictive

 

Junk food is very habit-forming; eating burgers, soft drinks, and pizzas on a regular basis can lead to addiction. Fast food's fats, sugar, and salt have a distinct flavor that attracts children like a magnet, owing to their appeal to a child's primal tastes. This behavior can be extremely damaging at times, and it can last for years. Many people have become infatuated with unhealthy foods and are so addicted that they are unable to eat anything else. This is why junk food sales are at an all-time high.

Humans are hard-wired to seek high-calorie food as a survival instinct, so every time we see, smell, or eat junk food, our bodies generate a slew of hormones and neurotransmitters that stimulate us to eat more.

 

3) It Has an Impact on Performance

 

A young person battling to stay awake at his desk after consuming unhealthy food
Credit: Shutterstock

 

The sugar and sodium content kicks off a very unhealthy cycle. When a child eats junk food, there is a sudden burst in sugar, and they experience a surge of energy, making them overactive and hyper.

The child becomes sluggish and less aware as the benefits of junk food wear off. This happens until he/she eats another snack. As a result, the child begins to rely on fast food for energy bursts. This not only produces a dependency on fast food as we mentioned before, but it also causes poor energy levels, lack of attention, and lethargy when they are not available. All of these factors have an impact on the student's performance.

 

4) Junk Food in Classrooms Can Deter Students From Making Healthy Decisions

 

It is possible for children to lose interest in eating healthier options once they develop a habit of eating junk foods at school. The artificial flavors of junk food can make it difficult for kids to appreciate the natural flavors of healthier alternatives.

Foods sold as "junk" are often substituted for more healthy foods in many households. When you consume a lot of cookies or potato chips, you eat a lot fewer fruits and vegetables throughout the day. This behavior reduces fiber consumption, vitamin levels, and eliminates the urge to consume foods of nutritional value.

 Benefits & Drawbacks of Junk Food in Schools

 

Summary

 

There are plenty of school food policies in place to ensure that your kid has access to healthier foods. The best way to ensure that your kid is getting a healthy diet is by packing them a home-cooked meal. They'll be tempted to consume the junk food sold in their cafeterias, but they'll also eat the meal you prepared, so it's a win-win situation.

Junk food availability cannot be completely eliminated with food and beverage advertising being at an all-time high. What can be done, however, is to educate middle school students about the negative consequences of junk and competitive foods on their health, so that they can make informed decisions.

 

Alex Wittle
Alex Wittle



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