Children Who Eat Vending Machine Food Prone To Chronic Health Problems

7 Sep

School children who consume vending machine food are more likely to develop poor diet habits, leading to obesity and a greater risk of chronic health problems including diabetes and coronary heart disease.

In a study by the University of Michigan Medical School, 22% of children studied purchased a vending machine snack on a typical day.

This study is the first to focus on vending machines amongst this age group, rather than on the USDA lunch program and found that vending machine users had higher sugar intakes and lower intakes of fibre, B vitamins and iron than non-consumers.

Interestingly, there was no significant difference in vending machine consumption based on family income, face or ethnicity.

Even more interesting, and worrying, is how commonplace vending machines have become within the school setting.  The study found that vending machines were present at 16% of elementary schools, 52% of middle schools and 88% of high schools.

Simply by being present and offering a food alternative that is popular, highly marketed, and a poor nutritional choice, schools are assisting children – and teenagers – in developing unhealthy diet habits.  And, as we know, the bad habits formed in childhood can take a lifetime to break.

As a parent to a daughter who is just a few years away from school, this topic scares me.  I work hard to instill a good diet for her, and her tastes at 18 months are directed towards healthy foods – don’t you dare eat a grape without offering her!  But, I have to wonder: how effective will this good start be when she begins school and sees friends choosing soda and crisps?  Why are our schools not helping educate children about the importance of good diet, and instead are facilitating access to unhealthy snacks?

I would love to hear your views on this!

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