Let’s Move program: Boon or crisis?

Madison B.

Staff Writer

Beginning this year, the food options in the vending machines have been switched out for new, healthier choices. Within schools all over Cherokee County, throughout Georgia, and all over the US, these changes are being made in hopes that it will lead to an improved lifestyle. The thoughts and opinions from students and teachers around Woodstock High vary. Are the healthy food changes going to have a positive outcome, or are the new changes going to be a waste?

When students first heard about Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move plan, which consists of removing all the fattening, but delicious foods, they did not believe it. Sadly, it all became a reality on the first day back to school when all the delicious chips, cookies, and sugary snacks were replaced with whole-wheat pop tarts, granola bars, and dried-fruit/ nut trail mix. Many students, including senior Will Long, miss the carb-filled, sugar-loaded foods. Long said, “I miss basically everything that was unhealthy. Honey buns, and donuts were my favorite. Nothing about baked hot Cheetos or baked Doritos sounds good.” Long is not the only student to have a negative view on the options now available; the majority of students will say the same thing. Junior Jake Milkey added, “I don’t like the changes, and I also don’t think that it’s going to be beneficial in helping any health issues. I still want my junk food. A bag of four pretzels thins is not going to satisfy my hunger.” Although students all over Woodstock High are rather pessimistic about the changes, teachers and parents are leaning more towards the optimistic side of the Let’s Move plan.

Snack Crisis MB2Due to the lack of unhealthy, calorie bursting snacks, many people are losing interest in buying food from the vending machines, too. “I never go to the vending machines anymore, unless of course it is for my 0 calorie Mellow Yellow,” Milkey says. Long agrees, saying, “I don’t go at all anymore; nothing sounds appetizing now unless you think a whole-wheat Pop Tart sounds good, and they only give you 1, not even the normal 2.”  It is sad how something so minor can upset so many people. Even some teachers have negative views on the change. Coach Ricky Glasper, personal fitness teacher and track coach, was in despair when he “didn’t see the Hostess cupcakes with the thick, cream filling.” Another snack taken away made Mr. Dan Page, world geography, anthropology and AP human geography teacher, unhappy. He said, “I haven’t even looked at the machine since the switch; nothing is going to appeal to me and call my name like the Twix bars. A low-fat, chocolate chip granola bar is not going to do it for me.” When something like cupcakes and chocolate can almost bring tears to eyes, that is when something is not right.

On a positive note, the students are not eating as much as before, but at this point, it seems as if the companies are putting more money into buying the healthy foods than they are getting money back. Not as many people visit the vending machines anymore; therefore the vending companies and the school do not have as much revenue coming in. The company that fills the vending machines has expressed that they have seen a 20% decline in sales so far this year.

The main reason for the change in the vending machines is because of the health issues found in schools nationwide. America is no longer the most obese nation around but is a close second behind Mexico. First Lady Michelle Obama wants America to get out of the top nations in obesity and start a better lifestyle all around. Mrs. Obama believes that taking this one small step will lead to many more. Coach Glasper understands Mrs. Obama’s goal; he says, “I see what they are trying to do, but I think students need advice. I agree that some foods needed to be taken away, but it is not going to do the trick.” Coach Glasper is correct because as he said, “Eating one healthy meal is not going to make you skinny, just like eating one unhealthy meal is not going to make you obese.” Coach Glasper advises that people need to eat right, but they also need to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Mr. Page agrees. “I understand why they made the change; we have to do something. I mean over 30% of the world population is overweight or obese, so I think it is one step closer to change. We will see,” he says. Hopefully, the new plan will encourage children, parents, and teachers all over to start a new and improved, healthy lifestyle.

All in all, whether or not the vending machines and Mrs. Obama’s changes are agreed upon, they will be staying around for a while. The social issues, such as bullying and depression, caused by childhood obesity in schools across the nation is becoming a larger problem than it should be and offering nutritious food versus junk food will help. Students do not always see the bigger picture, but who knows, maybe students will learn and understand why the changes were made and come to peace with the idea. In the long run, doing what has been done might be the step that leads to leaps.

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