What’s Really Causing Childhood Obesity?

Yeji Kim, Photojournalist

Every Monday to Friday, at 12:10 P.M., groups of hungry YLHS students rush into the cafeteria to get their lunches. Yes, unhealthy school lunches.


“I bring my lunch from home everyday, said Tiffany Trisno (11), “lunches provided by the school does not seem healthy.”


Schools provide education and enrichment opportunities for students. While schools teach students about healthy lifestyle and good eating habits, it seems like many schools are unaware of the issues of unhealthy school lunches. To reduce increasing obesity and diet-related diseases in youth, school lunches should be redesigned to meet basic nutritional standards and offer healthier meals.


Including Yorba Linda high school students, millions of American students need healthier food options for lunch. According to an article, “No Lunch Left Behind” by Alice Waters and Katrina Heron, the National School Lunch Program has distributed food that includes “some of the same ingredients found in fast food.” This suggests that if the school lunch contains fresh, healthier ingredients and unprocessed foods, it is likely that American students’ consumption of unhealthy food would decrease. High-fat processed foods may give a temporary feeling of fullness in the stomach, but those unhealthful foods do not provide students with enough nutrients and energy to make it through the day. Healthy, nutritious school lunches will help students to fully concentrate, boost energy, and perform better in the classrooms and on the athletic field. If schools continue to distribute the same school lunches as of right now, the percentage of obese children will triple again next 30 years. With increasing fast food consumption in the United States, at least the schools should provide healthy lunches and snacks. Unhealthy school lunches can bring many harmful consequences to students, but what can hurt students from providing healthier school lunches? We just need to invest a little bit of time, money, and effort to bring changes to school lunch program and decrease the number of childhood obesity and further related diseases.


Especially for young adults, it is very important to make wise food choices on a regular basis because making careful food choices is a key to maintain good health and enhance well-being. Eating a junk food once or two would not have a huge impact, but constantly eating unhealthy lunches for years can add up unnecessary nutrients in your body and lead to a serious negative consequence on both physical and mental health.


Think twice before you eat, Mustangs!