EDITORIAL | Junk food in schools

Schoolchildren at this time have settled a bit after the first few weeks of adjusting to the demands of a new school level or new school, for that matter. At this stage, they begin to revert to old habits such as snacking on what we consider unhealthy food.

The many disadvantages of junk food have encouraged parents to provide nutritious food for their children at home. As much as they want to keep their children healthy, when they go to school, the kids snack on chips, candies and other food high in sugar and calories which are available in food stalls close to schools.

Junk food is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “food that is not good for your health because it contains high amounts of fat or sugar.”

The Department of Education has already passed DepEd Order No. 8, Series of 2007, or the “Revised Implementing Guidelines on the Operation and Management of School Canteens in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools,” but we wonder if this is being monitored by agencies concerned.

The order provides that only “nutrient-rich foods and fortified food products labeled rich in protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals shall be sold in school canteens.” It also states that the “sale of carbonated drinks, sugar-based synthetic or artificially flavored juices, junk foods, and any food product that may be detrimental to the child’s health” is prohibited.

It goes without saying that junk food is not safe for our children. Not only do they feel hyper or listless, junk food contributes to growing obesity in children. The school, where kids spend most of their waking time, has the responsibility of teaching pupils proper nutrition. They should be the first to help wean them away from junk and lead them to eating nutritious and healthy food.

A healthy child will perform better in school and will have the advantage of fulfilling his full potential as a student, and later, as an adult.

Posted in Opinion