Instead of eating a nutritious cafeteria lunch each day, Nicole Talbott grabs junk food. "Lunch for me is chips, soda, [and] maybe a chocolate ice-cream taco," the high-school student from Oakland, California, told The New York Times.
U.S. school officials say that students have too much sugar and fat in their diets. Many doctors agree. The number of overweight children and adolescents has more than doubled since the early 1970s. Obesity; health experts say, can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea (breathing difficulties).
As a result of such concerns, Nicole's school district and others across the U.S. have banned junk food. What do you think? Should junk food be banned in school?
Junk food is especially harmful to growing kids. A recent study showed that half of the calories U.S. children consume come from fat and sugar. A can of soda, for example, contains 10 teaspoons of sugar!
"Schools should sell healthy food," says Jameela Syed, 10, a fifth-grader at Huth Road Elementary School in Grand Island, New York. "Healthy food can make you work better."
Banning junk food from schools--and teaching kids to eat right and exercise--will help students stay healthy.
Making choices is an important part of learning. Deciding whether to eat junk food is one such decision.
"I think kids should be taught to be responsible, and they should learn about eating properly in health class," says Meghan Stubblebine, 14, a student at Canevin Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "But kids should be able to choose what they eat."
Junk food may be bad for you, but deciding what to eat is a choice that students-- not states or school districts-must make.