By Gil Milanes
Poor food options in public schools lead to Americans developing bad eating habits by adulthood.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than two in three adults are considered overweight.
Statistics show that more than one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered obese.
The Department of Health and Human Services linked the problem to genes, eating habits, location, attitudes, emotions, life habits and income.
The bad habits and the obsession for fast food was implanted in our brains at an early age.
During lunch time in elementary school instead of freshly cooked food, fruits, salads or vegetables, the lovely cafeteria ladies gave us heated frozen pizza, hamburgers, fries, hot dogs and my favorite of all, beefy cheese chalupas.
By high school the food options “upgraded.”
In addition to the menu mentioned above, the school sold brand name hamburgers like Big Macs for $2, a slice of Domino’s Pizza for $1.25 or a side order of french fries for $1.
Let’s not forget the variety of soda options in the vending machines.
Once we arrive at college, we are too stressed and overwhelmed with adult responsibilities that eating healthy becomes the least important thing in our busy schedule.
It is more convenient and affordable to buy food on the go than cooking healthy food at home.
The British Medical Journal published a study conducted in 10 countries and found that it cost about $550 more a year to eat healthy.
The average price of healthy food does make a difference for many students’ pockets who struggle financially through college.
People from other countries see Americans as lazy and there must be some truth to it since we prefer fast food over healthy foods.
That makes the research findings rational.
In order to help the American people, government needs to step into the educational system and implement changes on the school lunch menus.
It is insane that schools would rather save money by hiring less cafeteria employees to heat frozen processed foods than hire more personnel to cook healthy foods.
Educational programs that teach parents and children how to properly prepare healthy foods at home should be available for those who wish to make a change.
Fruits and vegetables need to be more affordable and the media should serve the public by promoting healthy eating and not bombard children with Ronald McDonald’s happy meals commercials.
The excessive consumption of fast food can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, strokes and other medical problems that can be more costly in the long run.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents and adults to realize that we have a problem and we need to come up with a solution.
Children will enjoy the junk food provided at school without taking into consideration the harm that can cause them later on in life.
If we really care about the youth and our health, we need to start working on making a difference now by teaching children good eating habits that they will most likely carry through adulthood.