The Sweet Problem 101
By Nicholas Cheung-Solow
Today, I was trying to come up with something to write about. Something I can write a sweet article about. Something so good it would give you a heart attack. As I poured myself a glass of sweet, lemony-lime Sprite (not a sponsor), I realized how many kids just love sugary treats at APG. No kid at this school has not been to Polly Ann’s, Eggettes or Sunset True Value Hardware, at least once, to get some sugary goodness. This is obviously kind of a problem. So in the spirit of Halloween, this is Mr. Know-It-All’s: The Sweet Problem 101.
First, let me inform you about the medical concerns of this issue. Since we are focusing on our middle school, we are talking about the age group of around 11-14 year olds, or, as some people call them, tweens, a combination of teen and twit. According to an article by LiveStrong.com, sugar’s effects on teens include weight gain, mental disorders and heart risk. The article also states, “there are 146 ways in which sugar affects your health. Some of these include hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and crankiness in children.”
Another problem is that kids are spending so much money on these sweets. We estimated that if a kid buys a standard Ring Pop for one dollar from True Value everyday after school, they are spending $180 in just one school year. And the cost of a Ring Pop is really the bare minimum of these prices. A junior-sized ice cream from Polly Ann’s cost around $2.40. That is $432 per school year if they had one everyday. And some of these kids aren’t even spending their own money. Sometimes they rely on their friends’ money, and never pay them back (you all know who you are). Some kids use their parents’ money. Once I saw a girl at Polly Ann’s using a debit card, and it was sure as heck not her money! She’s a 6th grader!
So, what should we do about this? I briefly interviewed the principal, Mr. Schoeman, about this issue. He had heard a rumor a few years back that the APG staff had insisted that Polly Ann’s stop opening around 7:00am in the morning. This was to stop kids from getting ice cream and other sweet treats before school. This rumor is probably true because Polly Ann’s now opens around noon.
So there have been efforts to deal with this problem, but we need to do more about it. We could try to get the other stores to open later too, but, schools don’t have that authority and you can still come after school. So, really there is only one more option: just stop eating junky food. I know that seems too simple, but it might just be that. So, come on everybody, let’s stop risking our heart health and let’s stop wasting money. Because if we want to put an end to this sugar storm, let us make it sweet and simple.
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