Health

Should Vending Machines Be Taken Out of Schools?

A scary number of American students are obese or overweight, and it’s easy to think of reasons why. I have heard horror stories of kids who will only eat McDonald’s Happy Meals instead of healthy meals, and elementary schools that feed their students food that has the nutritional value of garbage.

However, something that we might not think of right off the top of our heads is the food that students buy for themselves from vending machines that are found in their school cafeterias. Now, the Obama administration is tackling this culprit in its fight to make children healthier. The administration plans to propose new rules concerning vending machines and the foods that are offered through these devices within the next several weeks. Although the exact rules have not been announced, many health advocates think that these rules will reduce the amounts of fat, salt, and sugar that foods and drinks sold in vending machines can contain.

Vending machines do a surprisingly large amount of business in schools. According to the National Academy of Sciences, more than $2 billion worth of sugary treats and sodas are sold in our nations schools through vending machines. So it makes sense that the industries that profit from these sales – such as candy and soda producers – would not want vending machines to be banned from schools.

Christopher Gindlesperger is the director of communications for the American Beverage Association. Gindlesperger says that companies in his industry, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have already taken steps to make the offerings in school vending machines healthier.


“Our members have voluntarily reduce the calories in drinks shipped to schools by 88 percent and stopped offering full-calorie soft drinks in school vending machines,” he said.

Many vending machines also now offer some healthier options for children, such as trail mixes and dried fruit. Unfortunately, these products are often placed beside unhealthy treats, like candy bars and cookies. A study conducted between 2006 and 2010 found that when students had the option between the healthy and unhealthy foods, snacking behavior did not change, which means kids were still choosing the unhealthy treats.

So what should schools do in order to help kids makes healthy choices? Should they just remove vending machines entirely? Although this seems a little drastic, it might not be a bad idea.

Roger Kipp is the food service director for the Norwood School District in Ohio. In 2010, Kipp took out the vending machines in his schools and replaces them with an area in the school cafeterias where kids could buy healthier snacks, such as fruit, yogurt, and wraps.

“It took a while, but it caught on,” said Kipp. “You have to give the kids time. You can’t replace 16-years of bad eating habits overnight.”

Via The New York Times



Schools Must Buy Larger Desks to Accommodate Larger Students

class room with desksSeventeen percent of American children are considered to be overweight or obese. Of course, this statistic in and of itself is disturbing, but the manifestations of this fact are also quite mind-boggling. For example, there was recently an advertising campaign in Georgia that targeted these overweight children. Now, many schools are having to make big changes in their classrooms in order to make sure these students are comfortable.

In many schools across the nation, bigger and stronger chairs and desks are being put into classrooms for the overweight children to use because they cannot fit in normal-sized school desks. Even in schools where this is not an immediate problem, it probably will become one in the future, and because of this, furniture manufacturers are increasing the standards size of their school desks in order to accommodate the growing students.

Taylor LeBaron was an overweight child who dealer with ridicule from his classmates about his weight. When he had trouble getting out of his desk, the situation just got worse.

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Elementary Students Need Physical Education, Even if the School’s Budget Doesn’t Cover It

elementary school gym classJessica Mazeau teaches physical education at Clifford School in Redwood City, California, five days a week. Her students are in kindergarten through fifth grade and a typical class includes activities such as keep-away with basketballs, hula hooping, and jumping rope. However, Mazeau does not work for the school or for the school district, nor is she a volunteer. Instead, she works for a private company, Rhythm and Moves, which was hired by the school’s parent-teacher organization, to provide physical education and activities for the students after the school’s budget cuts required it to eliminate its programs for students in all grades, except sixth through eighth.

“Clearly, if we don’t fund it the kids are not getting any active outside, except for minimum recess time and lunch time,” said Marilyn Ezrin, co-president of the Clifford School Parent-Teacher Organization.

Along with music education, physical education is becoming a luxury that schools simply cannot afford due to budget cuts and a hurting economy. However, with state requirements in California mandating that students receive 200 minutes of PE classes every 10 days, the responsibility to fulfill this requirement has fallen on classroom teachers.

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Talking Vending Machines Teach Healthy Eating Habits

generic brand chips and candyWhat would vending machines say if they could talk? Would they tell us to quit punching their buttons so hard or to not shake them when they don’t dispense their goods properly? Well, to the surprise of some students at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah, several of their vending machines have started talking and what they are saying is actually some pretty good advice.

“I’m a vending machine and can’t move without someone’s help,” one vending machine told a student when he tried to buy a Lava Cake. “Keep buying food like this and we’ll have that in common.”

Yep, the vending machines are offering the students tips on how to stay healthy by avoiding common vending machine foods, like greasy potato chips and fattening chocolate cakes.

The fake vending machines were installed in the school by Intermountain Healthcare in an effort to teach students about healthy eating habits. The vending machines are filled with pretend treats and do not accept money, but they talk whenever students press a button. According to Tamara Sheffield, a medical director with the company, the goal behind the machines is to get students to start thinking about what they are eating but in a lighthearted and entertaining way.

“What we want to do is do things that actually get kids’ attention,” Sheffield said. “If they have fun with it, they’re more likely to listen.”

In 2008, more than 80 percent of middle schools and high schools in Utah sold candy and other unhealthy snacks in their vending machines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this made Utah the state with the highest percentage of unhealthy vending machines in schools, out of the 40 states that were surveyed. By the next year, 15 school districts in the state had taken out vending machines from their elementary schools and 32 charter schools did not have any of the sweets-peddling machines.

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Top 10 Colleges with the Best Health Care Services

Nobody likes to get sick during the school year. I mean, you do get a few days off from classes, but after you recover, you have a mountain of homework and readings to catch up on, you have to find those in-class lecture notes from a fellow classmate, and you probably don’t feel completely up to par for a few days after you return to classes.

So, whenever I get sick during the school year, I rush myself to my school’s health services center to try to get myself some medication ASAP. Although the health center on campus is decent, it’s never been something to write home to my parents about. I guess I should have paid attention to the Princeton Review’s list of the Top 10 Colleges with the Best Health Care Services.

Other students have bigger issues, however. Chronic diseases, mental health concerns and sexual education and services are all things your college’s health center should be able to help you with, but not all schools are created equal. Choosing a school that is best suited to help your personal health needs is imperative for every student to consider.

Without any further adu, here are the top 10 schools you should go to if you are notorious for getting sick – or if your parents just want to have fantastic health care services available on your school’s campus.

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College Students Are Not Sleeping Well Enough To Perform Their Best

When I was in high school, I had a self-imposed bedtime and woke up at the same time every morning in order to go to my classes. As a result, I got eight hours of sleep every night and felt more energized and aware when I woke up in the mornings. My energy levels stayed high throughout the day and when it was time to go to bed at night, I fell asleep easily.

All that changed when I went to college. During my freshman year, I would stay up until 4:00 A.M. one night, wake up at noon, and then go to bed at 10:00 P.M. in order to wake up for my 8:00 A.M. class the next day. My sleep schedule was completely wacky, and as a result, my overall health suffered.

It turns out I was not alone. Many freshmen struggle with getting enough sleep as they transition into college. Also, when freshmen do sleep, they tend to think that they are getting a better quality of rest than they really are.

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Many College Campuses are Now 100 Percent Tobacco-Free

Everyone knows that you can’t smoke inside a college building or within 25-feet of any entrance door. However, some college campuses are now becoming entirely smoke-free in an effort to create a healthier and tobacco-free campus.

Last summer, students and staff members at the University of Kentucky patrolled the campus, and when they saw anyone smoking – student, employee, or visitor – they politely asked the smoker to dispose of his/her cigarette. In return for the cigarette, the members of Tobacco-free Take Action! would give the smokers information about resources on campus that would help them quit smoking.

The events at the University of Kentucky are not new to college campuses: there have been more than 500 campuses in the USA that have become 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free. There have been 120 campuses that adopted the smoke-free policy in the past year alone.

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3 Things You Can Do Now to Avoid the Freshman 15

The Freshman Fifteen. We’ve all heard of it. Some of us like to think that it is just another silly rumor about college, but the sad truth is that it does exist, and if you don’t take the necessary steps to avoid it, it will get you. Scary, huh?

When I was in high school, I went to the gym every day for two hours, ate like a rabbit, and took good care of myself. When I went to college for the first time, all of my healthy habits went right out the window and I gained the Freshman 15…and then some. But is there any way to avoid this? Now that I’m way past my freshman year, I have discovered a few tricks of the trade that I will now share with you. You may want to start trying these habits on for size now, so that when your first day of college comes, you’ll be ready for it. Don’t worry, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
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Kofi Annan’s Education Background

Kofi Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who also served as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for nine years. He is well known and respected for founding the Global AIDS and Health Fund to help developing countries care for their citizens and he received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his efforts. EDUinReview will now take a look at the education background of this inspiring man.

Annan was born on April 8, 1938 in a small town in the Gold Coast section of Ghana. He had a twin sister, Eufa, who died in 1991. Twins in Ghana are very highly respected. Annan’s family was considered to be an elite family because they had tribal chiefs as ancestors.

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MTV’s I Used to Be Fat Helps Obese Teens Turn Their Lives Around

MTV has done it again. Their newest show, “I Used to Be Fat,” follows teens who are facing a real-life obstacle – obesity – and their paths to success. MTV has also created other shows that document the lives of teens in tough situations, such as teen pregnancy in “16 and Pregnant” or “If You Really Knew Me,” where teens cross social cliques to really get to know each other. So far, there have been four episodes of “I Used to Be Fat.”

The first episode allowed us to follow Homecoming Queen Gabriella during her summer of dieting and exercising. Gabriella lost a total of 90 pounds and developed skills to improve her relationship with her mother.

After Gabriella came Marci, a homeschooled teen who was moving away to college. During the summer before her freshman year, she teamed up with a personal trainer to conquer her obesity and address her personal demons.

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