Obesity; defined as a condition of being very fat or overweight, corpulence.
Within the past decade, obesity rates have shot up from 5 percent to 21 percent in 12-19 year old adolescents across the country. This is due to the lack of nutritious meals served around them whether at home or at school.
Many kids around America succumb to consuming easy, quick meals throughout their day, without realizing the impact some of these processed meals have on their bodies. Schools make this very convenient by offering snacks and candy in the many vending machines placed around the school.
A common favorite, the Pop Tart, contains around 420 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 40 grams of sugar. That being said, schools providing processed meals and snacks heavily contribute to the unhealthy lifestyles of many teens around America.
However, Desert Mountain High School has made a concerted effort this school year to reduce the intake of unhealthy foods amongst the students. Once a guilty pleasure, the main vending machine containing the “best” snacks has been entirely removed from the school.
Although the school initially experienced resistance from the students, they eventually got used to the lack of snacks throughout the day, which was the school’s main goal. Another attempt by the school came in the form of fruits and vegetables offered in the cafeteria.
Once an overlooked, optional side, students are now required to take at least one fruit of vegetable along with each meal. Whether the students consume them or not, this is setting a habit for students to include a healthy component to each of their meals.
When speaking with students who admitted to falling prey to these foods, one mentioned “I consumed around four bags of salt and vinegar chips every morning and made sure I had room for sour patch kids after lunch!”
Another student mentioned, “ I guess I’m thankful for this change so I don’t have to eat so much candy everyday.”
One student confessed to gaining her “freshman 15” due to the vending machines.
“Freshman 15” refers to an inordinate amount of food (resulting in a 15-pound weight gain) consumed by students while entering into their freshman year of college, however now dubbed for freshman in high school.
Desert Mountain High School has made a focused effort in reducing the amount of unhealthy foods consumed by students by removing vending machines and offering a mandatory supplement of fruits and vegetable with every meal purchased. By obliging to these rules, students have gotten used to a healthier lifestyle.
Editor’s note: Ms. Mohan is a Desert Mountain student and participating in the Independent’s correspondent program