Vending machines in schools in the United States provide students with unhealthy food and contribute to the growing childhood obesity problem. Vending machines are such a large contributing factor to childhood obesity that Congress has examined allowing the United States Department of Agriculture to regulate snacks sold in school vending machines.


In-school vending machines with sugary snacks usually increase revenue for a school, which helps support the funding needed for cafeteria staff, according to the New York Daily News. Many cafeterias in schools are self-sufficient and make enough money from selling food to students to pay their employees without school funding. Schools make tens of thousands of dollars from contracts with vending machine companies each year.


The majority of vending machines have sugary and fatty snacks, according to the New York Daily News. Approximately three-fourths of all vending machines found in middle schools in the United States contain unhealthy foods, says Edu in Review. Almost one out of three children are now obese, and some experts claim that it is partly because of snacking on fatty and sugary foods from these vending machines. If vending machines have only unhealthy foods, that helps kids develop poor eating habits that often continue outside of school. When children eat sugary foods during a school day they experience a sugar high and eventually crash. This sugar crash makes it difficult to study and focus while taking tests and listening to classroom discussions.

Healthy Vending Machines

Some companies are beginning to offer vending machines with healthy foods only instead of sugary and fatty snacks, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Healthy vending machines provide smart nutritional choices while promoting healthy eating habits. If schools nationwide adopted healthy vending machines, childhood obesity rates would most likely decrease.


If students have low energy levels and need a blood sugar boost between classes, vending machines can be an excellent source of food. However, healthy vending machines are more beneficial than ones with sugary snacks. Machines with items such as apples, bananas and milk would provide students with a blood sugar boost without experiencing a sugar high. This may increase concentration levels and provide students with more energy throughout their school day.