This not only affects adults but children as well, significantly on school property. A child that is well nourished can perform well in school and adapt to making healthier decisions in regards to the consumption of foods. Thus, banning junk food in schools is an effective solution to students performance in school.
In the schools setting children are no longer advised by their parents on what to eat and are forced to choose from the options that the school offers. The child's health then depends upon the nutritional value of the choices that are available. Junk food in schools often includes pizza, hamburgers, fried foods such as french fries and chips, canned food, and large quantities of processed foods.
Some of these foods can come from vending machines as well. There can be healthier options such as vegetables, salad, and fruits, however, children tend to choose less healthy options. On the occasion that schools ban junk food, children will have no other option but to choose healthier food choices. This will result in an increase of children eating healthier and enhancing their performance to do well in school.
In some instances, children can be rebellious and not want to consume the healthy alternatives due to unfavorable preferences. This can cause ineffective performs in the classroom and their overall behavior hindering their ability to do well academically. However, schools can solve this by advising and consulting with the children before making any changes.
In this process school administrators motivate children to make healthier food choices using incentives, pledges, and competitions which is exactly what a field study conducted by Sekar Raju, Priyalin Rajagopal, and Timothy J. Gilbride. The study concluded that "all three interventions increased the choice of fruits and vegetables ten weeks after the intervention ended." This demonstrates that it is possible for children to adapt to healthier food choices that they can apply when choosing foods from the cafeteria. Children can even make a habit early on in their lives to eat healthier.
Some people might say that the problem of children's poor health is caused by how they were taught how to make decisions at home and not on school grounds, thus it is not the school's responsibility to attend to every child dietary needs. However, if the school's administration had already taken the initiative to respond by the students best academic interests they should take into consideration that proper nutrition can enhance their performance.
According to the article "The Relationship between Nutrition and Children's Educational Performance: A Focus on the United Arab Emirates" by Galal, Osman, and Judie Hulett, students who are not well nourished have lower attendance, shorter attention p, lower performance scores, and more health-related problems. In addition to this, junk food is harmful and can inhibit students performance in school.
There was a cross-section survey done by British secondary school children and the results stated that the daily consumption of junk food was associated with poorer mental and physical health. Thus, if schools provide healthier options students can perform better in school and articulate in a normal manner.
A concern that schools and parents have is that banning junk food and increasing healthier alternatives will result in additional money needed to buy the materials and food. This was the case for Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District in suburban St. Louis that with the initiative of superintendent Lina Henke, candy, chips, and all but one vending machine were removed. She also had all processed food replaced by whole foods by means of local resources.
Linda Henke stated that "To get kids to focus on school, and come to class with energy and enthusiasm, this is essential." Although most districts struggle with the budget, once changes have been made to the foods served in the cafeteria the school will benefit from the children's academic and social performance. For this reason, additional schools are making changes and seeing promising results from banning junk food.
Banning junk food in school can benefit both the school and the children. Although the school will have to make accommodations due to financial requirements the outcomes will result in an overall better performance by the students. Student will learn earlier on in their live how to make healthier food choices and add to their well being as they grow up. Schools should take more into consideration the power that food can have on children and their performance in school.