Obesity among our children has seen an epidemic rise for the past few years and the fingers are all pointing at the voracious consumption of junk food, which are foods that are believed to be unhealthy and lack in nutrients (Smith 2005). The accusation has some relevance to it as statistic showed that in year 2003, relatively 50 % of children have consume sugar and fat more than recommended, the large source of this came from eating junk foods like fast foods and soda drinks (Australian Nutrition Journal 2004). There is a large debate on should the junk food to be ban from selling in the school canteen or not. From my respective view, it is indeed wise solution to ban the sale of junk food in school canteen as it brings a lot of consequences.
Including obesity problems, junk food is considered the main culprit of many health problems. Jemma Smith (2005) agrees that eating junk food is a part of healthy diet if taken in moderation. But, the problem is these junk foods are over-consumed by the youngsters (The Food Show 2005). This is backed with the fact that for the past 30 years, the nutritional value of food eaten by Australian children has been falling gradually due to availability of junk foods in school canteens in which more than 50% of schoolchildren buy all their lunches consist of junk foods. This is contributing to weight gain because junk foods raise kilojoule intake and lack physical activity to burn the calories (Tran 2005). Besides that, Dental Association also lauds for banning of soft drinks sale in schools because there is declining trend of dental health in primary-school children (Tran 2005).
Secondly, the chemical additives contained in junk foods are causing behavioural problems in children. Snack foods have a craze towards younger generation. Out of thirteen most popular snack foods, only four of it has high nutritional value (Health Foundation 2005), which means he others have loads of chemical additives used to add flavour, colour or increase their shelf life. This would trigger behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and poor concentration. A child psychologist, Mary Caputo in The Food Show (2005) said that research had revealed that reducing unhealthy foods in children’s diet can improve their behaviour. Jack Green also added that teachers have noticed a clear improvement in student’s behaviour, they are relatively calmer after recess (the Food Show 2005).
Apart from that, the food packaging from junk food has caused some serious litter problem in schools. The pre-packaged meals, crisp packets, cartons, takeaway foods and canned drinks are the major contributor of litter problem as students unethically leave all the rubbishes behind after eating it (The Food Show 2005). School canteens that have already banned the sale of junk food have also reduced their litter problem and consequently reducing the school cleaning cost. Thus, school groundsman can now focus more maintenance for school benefits and image (The Food Show 2005).
In conclusion, I strongly believe that the sale of junk food should be ban in school canteens for the benefit of our younger generation. We should put off their mind from thinking that they can eat junk food whenever they like without any consequences (Tran 2005). If no action to be taken swiftly, one day might have to pay the piper.