Thursday, June 04, 2015

Should Cup Cake Be Banned At Schools?

Childhood obesity has become a major health problem. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Obese children are at a higher risk of having risk factors for cardiovascular disease like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Obese children are likely to be obese as adults and are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer. Hence, childhood obesity is surely a legitimate concern for society.

Since July 1, 2014, schools in the United States can no longer sell unhealthy food in cafeterias or vending machines, or at school-sponsored events like bake sales and fundraisers. Such move follows a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandate to replace unhealthy food and drink options with more nutritious options for kids and teens.

The USDA standards, however, do not regulate treats brought from home. Such decisions are usually left up to individual districts and schools. Anyway, some elementary schools across the country have launched and many others might follow suit to launch bans on edible birthday sweet treats like cupcakes that are brought from home. The schools stressed that the cupcake decision is only part of a broader health program to fight obesity.

As sugar enters human body, a portion of it will be burnt for energy that is required by the body. The remaining amount of sugar, if available, will be converted to fat and store it in the fat cells. Therefore, eating too much sweet treats like cup cakes, ice cream and soda can raise the risk of being overweight or even obese especially for the kids. On particular days, students could have as many as 3 birthday parties. Each cupcake might contain as many as 298 calories.

Despite the objections from some parents, the cupcake bans are welcome by most parents as it is healthier for kids, it puts less stress on parents to provide dessert for the entire class, and it provides peace of mind to parents of children with allergies.

While the entire food environment of the school matters, some health experts feel that it is equally important for parents to be consistent about nutritional values at home. Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity can actually reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing related diseases.

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