Ban Off-Campus Lunch: Leaving School For Lunch Promotes Obesity, Not OptionsWednesday, April 05, 2006 By Carrie Wong
One out of every four Americans is obese. This may seem like a shocking statistic, but it comes from the documentary “Supersize Me” by Morgan Spurlock. This movie, which we watched in journalism class, is informative about obesity and the health risks that can result from eating fast food. In “Supersize Me,” Spurlock decides to have an all-McDonald’s diet for a period of 30 days, putting his health and weight in jeopardy. The scary thing is that some Tech students actually eat the same amount of fast food during school hours. From “Supersize Me,” we learned that one of every four Americans visits fast-food restaurants on a daily basis. And at Tech, it seems as if three out of every four students do the same at lunchtime. You cannot blame students for going to fast food restaurants, however. These restaurants are the only eateries within walking distance of Tech. Fifteen out of 20 students surveyed for their lunch preferences said that they eat at Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, or McDonald’s on a daily basis. Within easy walking distance of Tech, there is a Church’s Chicken, a Burger King, and a donut shop. With only 43 minutes for lunch, it's no wonder that fast food is popular. Tech senior Shayna Stevens blames "shortness of time" for making fast food "my only option." In “Supersize Me,” Morgan Spurlock’s diet caused health risks, such as prostate cancer and heart failure. Eating an all fast-food diet put an adult man’s life in jeopardy, causing many health problems for him. Imagine what it would do to someone like Shayna. Tech should ban off-campus lunch, and improve the food in our school cafeteria. Many people do not eat in the cafeteria because they feel that the food there is the same as the food in fast food restaurants. After eating the cafeteria food recently, I can honestly say that the food is good—but it is not that healthy. For breakfast, the cafeteria served bacon, grits, and milk. The only healthy food in this meal was the milk—and that is not even a food. Lunch, was fried chicken with a side of French fries — this is certainly not nutritious for teenagers to eat. There are other days when the lunch menu includes spaghetti and tuna sandwiches . However, if you do not eat on those days, you will end up eating meals that are no more nutritious than fast food. Let us begin to attack the problem of obesity by banning off-campus lunch at Tech and providing healthy lunch on-campus. Improving the cafeteria food and encouraging students to eat there will force students to eat school lunches and snacks, or bring their own lunch from home. This is a sensible start towards healthier children all around. It is clear that we need to do something. Earlier this year, also in journalism class, we read a San Francisco Chronicle article entitled, “Fatter Than Ever.” The article showed that California school kids are putting on more pounds than ever before. In 2004, the percentage of children who were overweight in grades 5, 7, and 9 in California was 28.1%. The researchers of the article broke down these results, in hopes that policymakers would push for healthier snacks and bottled water in schools. But nothing has happened so far. Obesity is a growing problem among elementary and middle school children. This is outrageous. High school students are definitely targets of fast-food chains, especially because high school students are at the age where they learn how to drive and take the bus, which gives them easier access to fast-food restaurants. Tech needs to provide healthy lunch on-campus. For now, students should bring home lunches to school. Instead of spending $5-$10 on fast-food everyday, they can spend it on groceries to make a home-made sandwich instead.