blog post #5

| 9 Comments

 One concept regarding Pollan and the large amount of unhealthy processed foods is how grade schools lunch room can be a large factor in developing an individuals eating habits. Our nation is faced with increased obesity in todays youth as well the diseases and ailments that are caused from obesity. As this growing concern amounts to epidemics most public schools are still 'teaching' their students to eat unhealthy. Dating back to elementary school, I attended a public school system thats lunch program was run by a company called Sudexo. Sudexo ran every lunch room in every elementary school, two middle school and our one senior high school. Elementary school we were given one of two options usually ranging from cheap, unhealthy, hight fat, high carbohydrate filled food, with a small selective salad bar that was installed by angered parents claiming there isn't any healthy alternative. The middle school and high school lunch room would only grow in the variety of unhealthy food and provided a healthy alternative that was usually two to three dollars more and the line was usually empty. I can say for one, after eating so much junk for two years in middle school I would change to having my parents make my lunch alongside a lot of other students.

              This personal example relates to America's growing obesity epidemic and the massive amount of processed foods, thousands of schools around the country have provided a mass variety of unhealthy foods that were cheaper and readily available, given a grade school student attends school over half of calendar year and the majority consumes deep fried food and other unhealthy alternatives reflects how those students eating habits develop in later years. I believe in order to help prevent this growing obesity epidemic grade schools need to provide varieties of healthy alternatives that appeal to students. This concept has gained momentum recently and has some schools adding new healthy alternatives more appealing to students as well making them less expensive then the high fat, high carbohydrate filled foods.


          Overall it comes down to an individuals decision on weather they are going to eat healthy or unhealthy processed foods. This is where I believe the education of the benefits of healthy eating as well the consequences of having a unhealthy diet should be apart of every students education. Students that are simply educated on healthy and unhealthy eating habits are more able to develop a healthy diet without unhealthy processed foods.


Dan Leach   

9 Comments

I agree that education will go a long way in helping improve the obesity problem we have here in the U.S. However, I do think it is going to take some time before we can actually change the general public's mindset of what is healthy versus unhealthy. Also, some parents simply cannot afford foods that are non-processed and good for their kids. How are we going to battle that challenge as we move forward in the future? I agree Dan, things need to be changed. We have also become more comfortable over time consuming cheap processed foods. I believe awareness of the food we eat has risen dramatically, but how much change can occur? I think changes will have to occur in a rather step-like fashion. We are starting to take action by taking unhealthy food items out of vending machines at high schools which I believe is a step in the right direction. We need to keep moving forward in addressing our obesity problem, and eliminating junk foods in vending machines is a definite plus!

I agree that education will go a long way in helping improve the obesity problem we have here in the U.S. However, I do think it is going to take some time before we can actually change the general public's mindset of what is healthy versus unhealthy. Also, some parents simply cannot afford foods that are non-processed and good for their kids. How are we going to battle that challenge as we move forward in the future? I agree Dan, things need to be changed. We have also become more comfortable over time consuming cheap processed foods. I believe awareness of the food we eat has risen dramatically, but how much change can occur? I think changes will have to occur in a rather step-like fashion. We are starting to take action by taking unhealthy food items out of vending machines at high schools which I believe is a step in the right direction. We need to keep moving forward in addressing our obesity problem, and eliminating junk foods in vending machines is a definite plus!

I also agree education will go a long way in preventing the current health epidemics. Most of the classmates I went to school with chose which lunch line they would most often frequent and it stayed that way all through high school. Some would just have the junk food and others would choose to have the healthier food, even though it did not give them the satisfaction of the junk food.

I remember when the difference in quality of foods from two different high schools I attended. The first was located in a mostly white, upper middle class community, while the latter was heavily populated with minority and inner city students thus were generally middle class to low income families. I also remember the differences in quality of foods, the richer school had six different lines for different types of food plus a extravagant salad bar, the food was not only tasty but healthy. Then my family moved and I attended my new school which had two variety of food lines and one unpleasant looking salad bar that was rumored had been "tampered" with many times throughout the years, especially the chicken soup. The meat was graded worse than prison meat. The food was so greasy, so "cheap" yet also tasty. I think that my story relates to Critser's argument and also helps to reinforce your points. Healthy nutrition should be taught and applied at young ages until it becomes a habit, and cheap, processed, and easy to make foods become something foreign and not the norm.

I also think there needs to be changes, and I think they need to be changed at all levels. I remember in elementary school having two lines to choose from that had the same items in both lines. From what I can remember, there were more unhealthy options than healthy options. In middle school, there were more options, and in high school, there were half a dozen different lines all with different foods. Also in high school, when you first walked into the area to get your food, the salads were the first things you saw but I remember those lines were probably shortest. Since kids are eating about 5 of their meals a week at school, there needs to be more healthy options than unhealthy options which will cause those kids to naturally choose the healthy option later in life (hopefully). I also think that more healthy food needs to be encouraged from the start and the less healthy food should be available but hardly mentioned.

I like how you ended your blog post. It is up to the consumer to make choices on how they eat. There are healthy and cheap alternatives out there, it's not just the dollar menu at McDonalds. It is hard to go from what you are used to eating such as a hot cheese burger and fries to say a salad, but this is possibly where the parents come in to play. The parents need to educate their children on how to eat. I ate well as a child and continue to eat well now. I never smoked and I dont smoke now. The blame can not be put on industry, they are doing what they were hired for. Just as smoking is known to be bad, it is education on these topics that will switch to a healthier lifestyle.

I think the public schools, atleast in my area, have gone a long way to try and serve healthier food. I remember being able to order a big basket of french fries and there were different flavors of shakes each day. (Ok, now I'm hungry.) But talking recently with my younger brother about school lunch in highschool seems like a completely different world. He goes to the same school I did and they don't have any of those treats anymore and they are serving healthier foods. I don't believe they have soda pop vending machines anymore either.

I like your closing statement – people are more likely to eat healthy foods if they can identify these alternatives.
Education is the key. The more we spread the word about diet-related illness, the more likely people are willing to lead healthier lifestyles.

- lili k

I remember back in middle school all I ate was cheeseburgers and french fries everyday,because it tasted good. As a kid you don't really know whats really good for you. A kid thinks because something taste good you should eat it. I agree with a lot of what you said. We need to change the way elementary school cafeterias are run and to offer more healthy alternatives to students. I know that in my last year of high school soda machines were removed from the cafeteria-so we may be headed in the right direction.

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This page contains a single entry by published on December 4, 2009 5:54 PM.

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