6 Reasons Why Vending Machine affects student obesity

6 Reasons Why Vending Machine affects student obesityobese student

Vending machines are offering quick snacks and drinks for those in a hurry. Usually, you will see them near universities or even inside them, offices and subways. Where the crowd is, at least two vending machines are there too. They are like a small store in a rectangular shape. So they are not providing fast food or any other artificial food, but sweets ( Snickers, Reeses ), sometimes even sandwiches, and drinks ( water and juice ). Of course, they are pricier than in a normal store.

In many ways, vending machines are used without thinking. Maybe you are not thinking about having a meal right away, but when you see the vending machine, you feel the hunger immediately. So that’s the power of them and that could be a simple reason why the obesity increases.

#1 – Why there are vending machines in Universities?

vending machine on one my school locations

As well as it’s a way to promote the vending machine companies, it’s a way for the University to be sponsored. The sponsorship contract gives sectors the opportunity to develop extracurricular activities for their students.

Vending machines are now a big business, and every public place has one now.

Vending machine is a business and if there are vending machines in the location then it would offer benefits for the vendor and the location. Vendors offer commissions ranging from 5% to 20% on the gross sales. This is the way it goes here in Vancouver, BC

The location such as a university, school or an office would likely want a vending machine simply because it gives them convenience for the students and employees and also receiving a monthly or quarterly commissions which keeps everyone happy.

#2 – Why students are using the vending machine so often?

so many vending machines in school

As a student, you don’t always have the time to cook something for yourself before going to school.

But there is a cafeteria inside the University which can provide you a good lunch.

And still, students are thinking that if they buy things from a vending machine, it will be less expensive than eating from the cafeteria.

Normally the cafeteria installs their own vending machines in the school offering food choices when they are closed on certain hours during the day.

They don’t know that eating from a vending machine makes them hunger. And so it appears the need to chew something, every time. That’s why it’s good to have a chewing gum in your pocket ( Not too much chewing gum either case it has sugar ).

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They are eating fast, even standing on their feet, almost not swallow that item correctly. Nutritional researchers says that if you don’t want to put some kilograms on, you have to stay on a chair, eat slow and carefully chew the food. So that the food can digest better.

That’s absolutely wrong and unhealthy.

#3 – Why vending machines are selling sweets?

Vending machines are made by big companies, which, in fact, are producing sweets or sodas. Eating something sweet every day is not as bad as eating fast food every day. Most of the doctors recommend specified sugar portion once or twice per week.

But sometimes, that’s all that students do. Every break from the classes it leads to eat sweets or chips in the University’s garden. It is also a way to get along with other students and have a social life.

Most of the students are stressed about exams and tired because of waking up too early. Chocolate and sugar has been promoted as a booster and something that makes people concentrate, which is not absolutely true. There are some limits, but people nowadays are exaggerating in everything and that’s why the sugar develops into fat.

#4 – Do students feel the need to drink soda every day.

Only if it’s Cola or Pepsi, They are promoting their brand as using caffeine, which helps the students to concentrate when they are up in the morning.

They also have a wide target group that is mostly about teenagers. And you can see it from TV Ads and motto s. Drinking Cola or Pepsi has now been a way of lifestyle. I’m not judging those companies, because they are doing good on the market, and everyone feel the need to drink some from time to time. But again, it’s the limit that is always passed.

Students are most attracted to those sodas because the way it’s promoted. It’s not necessary intended.

#5 – How much money a student spends for getting food from a vending machine?

It depends on the prices. Usually a soda is not much more than 2 or 3 dollars, and prices for the variety of sweets and chips are going from 3 to 10 dollars. Speaking from a student experience, you can spend at least 20 dollars per day, having a ‘ full meal ‘ from a vending machines.

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Also, as with the increases of the blood sugar level, there can be many other problems than just obesity. Such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

#6 – Is there a way to stop obesity among students?

There is study done on the Sociology of Education that there is absolutely no correlation no link on student obesity and the school wide deployment of vending machines sales on: chips, chocolate and soda pop.

This is a study done with 19,450 5th grade students for both male and female for a duration of four years. The conclusion on the study simply states that children who could get hold of an Oh Henry chocolate bar after class every day did not gain weight as compared to the children who do not buy Snickers, Oh Henry or other sugary products from the vending machine.

Source : https://slate.com/human-interest/2012/01/junk-food-in-school-do-vending-machines-make-kids-fat.html

There is another study done :

“Every student who can buy junk food at school will suffer from overweight. The effect of junk food availability is statistically different for adolescents whose parents are overweight. Access to junk food in school has no effect on the 44 percent of students whose parents have normal weights. For those with an overweight parent, who may have a genetic susceptibility to weight gain, a 10 percent increase in the proportion of schools that make junk food available increases BMI by more than 2 percent”

by Linda Gorman with reference to Reading, Writing and Raisinets: Are School Finances Contributing to Children’s Obesity? (NBER Working Paper No.11177), co-authors Patricia Anderson and Kristin Butcher

It is hard to do that because everyone got used to eat from a vending machine. Is fast, and you’ll never be late for classes ( that’s a lie too ).

What percentage of schools have vending machines installed?

According to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health there are about :

80 percent vending machines in middle school

97 percent vending machines in high school

These vending machines are virtually present all schools. It really depends on the products that are sold in the vending machine that will affect the students dietary habits which may result into positively or negatively.

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Schools are in the position to implement what kind of products that are to be placed inside the vending machine. Children’s food choices are impacted on the upbringing dietary habits at home and in school. There is a large influence on the eating habits of the children on their parents.

In case of the school’s environment then there are 2 plausible ways to prevent this obesity.

a) The school must tell the vendor what kind of products that should be placed inside the vending machines. Healthy choice is the trend and also offering soda pop that are low in sugar content.

b) The school will introduce some nutritional classes ( optional ) and teach them the way they should take care of their body.

People nowadays are no longer respecting the 3-meals-per-day pack:

having a rich breakfast because it is the more important. And if you don’t have time to make it, at least drink a good coffee from a coffee shop and eat 1 or 2 apples. Having a light or rich lunch. It depends on what you ate in the morning and if you ate something in between the meals. And having a lighter dinner. Dinner is a way to not falling asleep with your stomach empty because you can wake up with some headaches.

The most important thing to mention is that you have to stop eating before you feel full. But if you want to eat much more than usually, consider eating slow and you will see that you will not get that full feeling.

Here is an interesting childhood obesity trends

This data has been taken at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It is a good thing that CSPI ( Center For Science In Public Interest ) has made a free School Foods Tool Kit which is a handbook manual for parents and school administrators that notes the healthy food choices.

Table of Percentage of Childhood Obesity


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