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North Seattle College Food System

Introduction 

Good nutrition is healthy, but in most occasions you find that healthy meals are more expensive compared to the unhealthy meals. This is the reason most people especially students would consider purchasing unhealthy food because it ranges and rhymes with their budget. Based on a study that our group conducted on North Seattle College Food System, we managed to identify that the main problem affecting this community is that most students are taking too much snacks and coffee. It means there was a problem on unhealthy eating habits which originated from availability of cheap and readily available snacks and coffee compared to other types of healthy meals. The majority of the students, therefore, developed the habit of taking snacks and coffee all through the year while at college not knowing that it has side effects on their health. It is important to resolve the problem of consumption of unhealthy meal among NSC students because of the need to have a healthy community and this can be done by regulating what is sold to students and offering health education.

The problem

  • High prices of healthy meals

The root of unhealthy eating in North Seattle College was that the price of the healthy options of food were more expensive compared to the junk food options. The students, therefore, preferred to consume the junks because it is what they could afford. At the same time, the problem was contributed by a wide variety of junk food options available at the coffee stand compared to the healthy alternatives. It means that most students were drawn to the greater choices of the junk food plus their lower prices which encouraged them to conduct purchase. When we inquired about whether the snacks and coffee were the only kind of food that the students wanted to consume, we found that most of them preferred them because they were available in a large sum. They were actually overwhelmed by the amount of snacks that were available within the college sometimes. They would, therefore, prefer to purchase the bagels and cookies to eat. Sometimes they would carry one snack such as sandwich or salad.
It is important to understand the main health problems that are contributed by unhealthy eating habits or poor eating habits. Nutritionists have found that too much sugar and low nutrients in food are the major causes of heart problems, diabetes and obesity among many people in the world. Some of the snacks that students at North Seattle College consume have too much sugar such as chocolate brownies, cheese, cupcakes, candies, sweets and ice-creams among many other junk foods. It means that most students are at a risk of developing heart problems, being obese or even diabetic.

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  • Failure of school administration to regulate junk sale

However, the students are not only to be blamed for their poor eating habits. The school administration did nothing to ensure that the students eat healthy meals. The school did not warn the students about any health risks related to eating too much junk food and taking too much coffee. They were not informed on the possible dangers on their regular diet which was unhealthy. They instead allowed the students to make their choices on what to eat and never regulated what was being sold at the coffee shops. It means that the school administration was not sensitive to the poor eating habits of their students around the college. They could have possibly noticed it by the health club in the school doing some analysis on what the students consumed on a daily basis. However, the students were quite clear that no administrator had shown any concern regarding what they consumed at the coffee shops.
Some studies have found that addiction to caffeine can result to chronic disease because it can trigger a person to seek for stronger drugs to use to obtain the feeling that they want. At the same time, it may be difficult for someone who is addicted to caffeine to control their intake regardless of its harmful consequences. Continues use of drugs can lead to changes in brain functioning while at the same time the person will not be able to resist or control their urges to take the drugs. The caffeine also causes heartbeat irregularity in people. The school administration needs to look into the problem of unhealthy eating among students to avoid having students who are addicted to drugs.

  • Poor health and performance

When coffee is regularly used, the caffeine in it has the potential to cause mild physical dependence. At the same time, a person who tries to stop consuming caffeine abruptly can have withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, depressed mood, headache, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. The symptoms can last for a period of two days or more meaning that during these periods, the students’ performance will be greatly affected. They will not be able to concentrate in class and if it was during the examination period there are high chances that they will fail.
At the same time, junk foods contain few amounts of nutrients which are needed for the body to function properly. It means that there is a possibility of the students feeling more fatigued because of malnutrition caused by eating too much junk food. Based on our study, it was also revealed that some students took soda which has too much sugar and can cause tooth problems. Those students with tooth ache will possibly miss classes for a few days which will in turn affect their performance. At the same time, diet soda has been found to contain worse side effects especially the ones with artificial sweeteners. Excess sugar has the potential to cause the body to produce insulin imbalance which can contribute to obesity. Too much insulin in the body makes the pancreas to be overworked while less insulin can cause damage to the cells especially to those consuming too much sugar like students at the college.

Solutions to the problem

  • College administration controlling food sold and the prices

Several things can be done to correct the poor eating habits of students at North Seattle College. First the school administration needs to take control of the situation at the coffee shops. They plus the local health inspectors of the areas should conduct a thorough inspection on the amount of junk being sold to the students. They can force the coffee shops to regulate the junks and start selling more healthy diets at fordable prices to encourage the students to eat healthy. By providing more healthy diet foods at a reasonable price, the institution will get rid of the food desert and encourage students to purchase healthy meals.

  • Health education

However, regulating what is being sold at the coffee shops would not be enough especially on students who had gotten used to eating junk foods and coffee and are perhaps addicted. In this case, health education and importance of good nutrition should be the focus of the school. They should educate the students on the risks that they are placing themselves by consuming too much junk foods and coffee on a daily basis. This will change their minds and make them more cautious on what they purchase and consume. At the same time, the coffee shops should be encouraged to sell fresh supplies to the students which are healthier than the junks which they add too many preservatives. Students should be encouraged to take Omega 3 fatty acids to help in improving their learning ability and memory especially those who were addicted to coffee and perhaps had started experiencing the negative side effects.
In conclusion, it is important to resolve the problem of consumption of unhealthy meal among NSC students because of the need to have a healthy community and this can be done by regulating what is sold to students and offering health education. Many of the foods the students ate were full of sugar and salt which placed them at a high risk of contracting heart diseases.

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