Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teenage Vegetarianism

A study, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009, shows that about 1 in 200 kids (about 367,000) do not eat meat of any kind. This rate could be up to six times higher in older kids that have more power over what they are consuming. Some have a different reason for the lifestyle than others: environmental concern, treatment of animals, health reasons, or religious reasons. But can kids and teens be responsible for their own nutrition?

Vegetarianism is sometimes seen as an easy way to lose weight or improve health. "Lots of science shows that a plant-based diet can prevent … heart disease, cancer, and diabetes," says Susan Levin, a dietitian at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. This is true, but many teens that rely soley on vegetables and continue bad eating habits such as eating doughnuts, french fries, soda or potato chips, are not heading down the right road. Without meat, vegetarians need extra amounts of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients.

"Since beef, chicken, and fish are good sources of protein and vitamins, teens who attempt to practice a vegan … diet are at greater risk for [vitamin] deficiencies," reports the California Department of Public Health.

Now what can be done to change health habits? Sure, Papio South has tried diet pops and baked chips, but lunch everyday still consists of the choices of french fries, pizza, hamburgers, and other unhealthy foods side by side with the various salads. There should be more encouragement of healthy eating and exercise, and there ought to be a decrease in the fatty foods and more of the healthy alternatives (like the new grab-and-go salads, those are tasty).



Mr. Tomoskowitz said...

I am a little confused about your article. I also believe that vegetarianism can be a healthy approach to improving health, but you did not really address how to solve the vitamin deficiencies that it creates. The fatty foods you talk about needing to be decreased is a good idea, but that does not answer how to help make your body fully healthy by not eating meat.

Titan24 said...

You're right, that wasn't very clear. I was more trying to say that good health habits should be impoved and encourged rather than choosing the lifestyle of vegetarianism.

Where the Wild Things Are said...

A lot of my friends at Papillion La Vista South High School are vegetarians, where they eat fish and dairy products but not beef or chicken. They always tell me they have problems choosing what to eat at lunch because almost everything that is not dipped in oil (like the onion rings) have meat. Even the grab and go lunches have chicken or beef so they can't even have those:(

iambroken said...

I personally don't eat healthy at all. i don't really eat meat. i do eat those pizzas and hamburgers but i make a choice to exercise and live a healthy life. What are some ways to make your body healthy by not eating meat? Organic foods are a way to go but they're expensive. If we slowly change the nutrient system at our school people would be alot healthier and get more vitamins that they need.

Germ-x said...

Vegetarianism is a very hard concept for me to grasp cause I love meat so much. But people that are vegans I kind of feel for them. At school there aren't that many healthy, meat free food. As the numbers of vegetarians are increasing, I think that schools need to adjust also with providing more healthier, meat free foods.

Snuffleupagus said...

I agree about how our school doesn't provide as much "healthy" food items as they like to think. Along with our healthy food problem, there's also an increase in the prices of food so a grab n' go lunch doesn't help anybody who can only spend a certain amount of money each day.