Shelby: To try and combat high obesity rates, school vending machines are going on a diet. Scott Evans has the scoop.
Scott: You know the feeling. You are sitting in class, the teacher is talking, but you can’t think. Your stomach is grumbling and you want a quick fix. It is time to take a trip down the hall and hit the snack machine. But wait a minute. What is this? Where are my chips?
New federal regulations mean goodbye to candy bars, chips and chocolate in school vending machines. Though the new rules don’t kick in until the fall of 2014, Avon High School here in Indiana has already made the switch. But students don’t find the new machines as sweet.
This is the new vending machine coming to a school near you.
Maria Kahn: It’s good to adopt these new habits early on in high school. Also, though we all, obviously, miss our chocolates and the candy.
Scott: Avon High is ahead of the game. But come fall 2014, new government rules will require all schools to ixnay the unhealthy snacks in vending machines and bring on the good stuff. They have already started making changes to your lunch. Now it is spreading to the rest of campus.
Kellie Rodkey: What it is, it’s really looking at the calorie content, it’s looking at fat, sugar and sodium. And schools have to meet certain guidelines for these nutritional items in their vending machines during the school day and outside of school time as well now.
Scott: It won’t be an easy change. More than 80% of schools have vending machines, and most of the stuff that is in the vending machines won’t make the cut anymore. It is all part of an effort to combat obesity.
One out of every three students is overweight. And all that extra weight can lead to serious health problems, like diabetes and heart issues. Nearly 70% of students drink at least one sugary beverage – like a sports drink or soda – at school every day.
School officials say students may not like these snacks now, but they are a step in the right direction.
But it is a good step.
Rodkey: It is a good step. I, personally, think it is a good step because it’s not as easy for them to have access to those high-calorie foods. But it is enabling schools to provide healthier snacks for students.
Scott: A recent study showed students gained less weight from fifth through eighth grades if they lived in states with strong laws regulating snacks in schools compared to no laws. The effects weren’t huge and the study isn’t proof that the laws influenced the kids’ weight. But the results did raise hopes about how getting junk food out of schools might help.
But critics point out these laws can’t stop students from buying unhealthy foods outside of school and bringing them on campus; something students already do.
Maria: I always like the spicy chips – a big thing of spicy chips. But now I often just bring them from home, which is probably not the point of the whole thing.
Scott: Okay, so students don’t want to swap their candy for carrots overnight. We get it. But Avon has some ideas to help make the switch, like putting a five dollar bill behind a granola bar to motivate students to at least try one of the new snacks.
Rodkey: So is this healthy vending law going to magically make obesity go away? I am not really sure about that.
Scott: But it may get students to think about better choices.
Mark Bode: If we form those healthy habits here, that’ll be preventative as we grow older.
Scott: And maybe that is the key.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.
Shelby: To see what kind of snacker you are, head over to Channelone.com.