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Teens need to make healthy decisions

Cafeteria food
Elisha Anderson works the food line in the cafeteria on the first day of school. EQUI file photo.

We are living in the year 2013, a year where most people are used to receiving what they want instantaneously. Whether it is receiving a text message or uploading a picture onto facebook, people generally don't like waiting more than a minute, if that. Coincidentally, things aren't much different when it comes to food choices.

Teenagers in particular are affected by food choices offered in school. When there are so many unhealthy choices to choose from, it can be difficult for students to rip themselves away from a bag of Cheetos and pickup a salad. That coupled with the fact that the most nutritious meals are in crowded cafeterias and are generally more expensive than junk food makes most students pass it up.

In today's world, healthy food choices have to perform in a constant battle with choices that are more convenient. High school students end up either waiting in a long line to receive a healthy meal that most think of as being less tasty and more expensive, or waiting a short time for a lunch without much nutritional value. That is, if they decide to eat at all.

"Getting lunch everyday is such a hassle, I usually just decide to skip it entirely," said Justin Chambers, a high school senior. Many studies, such as one conducted by Tufts University School of Nutrition, have confirmed that students who are hungry because they have skipped lunch are distracted in the classroom. In addition, studies have shown that malnutrition from habitual undereating can interfere with normal physical and mental development (http://familyfood.hiddenvalley.com).

The good old days where there was enough time in the mornings to put together a balanced lunch seems to be almost completely gone. In order to keep kids healthy in 2013, fresh fruits and vegetables are going to have to be more easily accessible. Hopefully, Sacramento's youth will take a chance and start choosing healthy over easy.



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