Did you know that the money spent to treat people with illnesses related to the lack of health makes up 9.1 percent of the America’s total medical expenses? That is about 78.5 billion dollars! (CDC). If we all eat healthier, expenses like these could be lowered. That is why kids, especially students, should eat more healthy foods. All of us know that eating our fruits and vegetables is important for our health. But how important is it? Healthy eating can actually reduce a person’s risk from developing any illnesses such diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc. Foods with the proper nutrients and vitamins can increase a person’s immunity so that they will not be susceptible to the diseases. For example, a higher calcium intake can reduce the risk for developing diabetes (M.N.T). According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, a minimum of 400 grams of fruits and vegetables must be eaten by kids ages 11- 16 per day (CDC).
These are the necessary amounts to maintain a good health and not get sick. Healthy eating helps you maintain a good weight. About one to two months ago, my school, Sutter Middle School, required everyone to be part of the physical fitness program. Students must have their weight and height measured during this program. I noticed that there were students who were really nervous about measuring their weight. I realized that kids with the lack of health can sometimes feel self-conscious when it comes to their weight, whether it being underweight, overweight, or obese. Depending on the age, a person must consume a consistent amount of calories per day to maintain a decent weight. A healthy diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. offers a good and balanced calorie supply.
Fatty foods, like potato chips, soda, pizza, hamburgers, etc. contain too many calories per serving. For moderately active kids, males ages 14-18 can have 2200-2800 calories per day and females ages 14-18 can have 2000 calories per day (Exercise). “We have all heard that eating a healthy diet is expensive, and people have used that as an excuse for not eating a healthy diet, but healthy foods do not necessarily cost more than less healthy foods,” says Andrea Carlson, an economist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Junk foods may be convenient and tasty, but they don’t cost any more than fresh and healthy produce. The price of carrots is half the price of potato chips by portion size. According to Andrea Carlson’s and her colleague Elizabeth Frazão’s studies, when considering portion size, the least to most expensive types of food are: grains, dairy, vegetables, fruit, protein and less healthy foods. (Carlson).
Another important benefit from eating healthy is energy. Eating healthy allows students to have the energy to perform well in school and sports. Foods that contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins offer a long digestion time, giving you a slower and stable release of energy (Straight Health). The longer the digestion will take, the longer your energy will last. Principals often call during the week standardized testing to say to get plenty of rest and eat a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast can actually help students with testing because a meal containing complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, etc. can prevent a drop in blood sugar and allow students to last throughout the day (Healthier).
Many people often think, “Well foods with a bunch of sugar can make you energetic.” That is true. Though that is true, junk foods with a lot of simple carbohydrates, also known as sugar, create a big boost in energy but also create a sugar crash. A sugar crash is when you consume foods that are loaded with sugar and lack other nutrients. Then later, your blood sugar suddenly spikes down, causing fatigue and dizziness, negatively affecting students’ school performances (Straight Health). Many beneficial consequences can be made if students eat more healthy foods. It can help students reduce their risk from developing any illnesses, maintain a good and balanced weight, and allow them to have the energy to perform well in school and/or sports. What are you waiting for? Go grab a healthy snack and enjoy it!