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This paper is about the nutrition importance in school meal programs.

Nov 3, 2016   #1
Nutrition and nutritional education programs such as Healthy, Hungry-Kids Free Act, are growing topic nationally and should be a priority in schools. With children spending a third of their day in school and many eating two meals a day, it is important to see what role schools play in the development and education of nutrition for children. Across the United Sates we have many federal, state, and school district programs that help support these efforts and have an impact on the well-being of children.

There is large amount of research that shows a direct correlation between nutrition, learning, and behavior. A research study done by the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning have shown that "Children with nutritional deficiencies are particularly susceptible to the moment-to-moment metabolic changes that impact on cognitive ability and performance on the brain" (Leon, Sect. Key Findings, Par 3). In a recent paper published by Wilder Research on 5th grade students showed that the students who had less nutritional diets performed worse on standardized testing. Additionally, students with diets that consisted of mainly fast food performed worse on math and reading. Nutrition in the short-term, is believed to have an impact upon individual behaviors and school performances. Psychiatry Research published, "that children who consumed larger amounts of sugary, fried and salty foods were more likely to suffer from learning, attention, and behavioral problems. Conversely, children who consumed more vegetables and dairy products as part of a balanced, healthy diet were less likely to exhibit school-related behavioral problems." (McKnelly, Sect. Improved Attention).

The school Breakfast Program was put into effect in 1975 so that all children would have the opportunity to eat breakfast. With popular breakfast options containing high amounts of sugar and sodium and low amounts of fiber and protein, children are not getting the proper nutrition they need to sustain themselves throughout the day. The Tuft University did research study on children with one of two types of breakfast and no breakfast. The study showed that after three weeks the children that consumed a the healthy breakfast (oatmeal) had more longer lasting energy and cognitive skills compared to the children who ate unhealthy breakfast or none at all. The insufficient availability of proper nutrients in school breakfast for children was attributing to lose of concentration creating a more irritable student. A school in Minnesota used a select group of students and prepared freshly made breakfast for them. After two weeks they have found that access to nutrition, particularly breakfast, "can enhance a student's psychosocial well-being, reduce aggression, and decrease disciplinary problems." Schools have found that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores as well as improve their speed and memory in cognitive tests. Research also shows that children who eat breakfast at school, closer to class and test-taking time, perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home.

The National School Lunch Act was established and signed by President Harry Truman in 1946 to provide nutritionally balanced, low cost, or free lunch meals to students each day. Under this program schools are able to offer meals at least twice daily all but guaranteeing school children nutritional food every day. The limited standards and resources for the original program did not give a nutritional foundation for schools. The main goal in providing lunches was to give children a meal that would not otherwise have one. Then National School Lunch Programs works with almost 100,00 schools and serves 30.5 million students. The school breakfast program works with 90,000 schools and 14 million students. Schools are providing more than 50 percent of most children's daily meals. Currently, 1 out of every 3 children are overweight and obese requiring change to the nutritional standards in the school meal programs.

In 2010, President Obama signed into law a federal statue the Healthy, Hungry-Kids Eat Free Act which included the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. The Healthy, Hungry-Kids Eat Free Act was created to regulate the nutritional value of the schools' meal programs and make sure that no child went hungry. It funded 4.5 billion dollars into the school lunch programs for implementation of nutrition standards, quality of food, and access for more children to participate in the school meal programs. The most important change was the introduction of higher nutrition's standards developed by the USDA.

The USDA in 2012 started implementing the new food policies nationally into school's breakfast and lunch programs by changing the standard for nutritional value and quality of the food being served. One area the USDA changed the standard was by making foods more available to student that are rich with vitamin B, Omega 3's and proteins. A study done by the CDC has shown that food rich in these nutrients help promote cognitive development. Another area the USDA implemented its standards was decreasing the availability of foods with high trans-fat and saturated fats. Foods with high trans-fat and saturated fats have proven to have a negative impact on the brain that influence learning and behavior. With every meal students are offered their choice of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat free milk, whole grains and proteins. According to the USDA, school meals containing these combined items are considered to be a nutritionally balanced meal. Studies show that a balanced nutritional meal increases students learning, behavior, and participation by 25 percent. One of the concerns is by mandating what specific types of foods are to be served with the kids participate in the school meal programs.

The overall goal of the Healthy, Hungry -Kids Eat Free Act is to make sure children are not only eating nutritionally balanced meals but that they are getting a meal that they might not otherwise have. Since the implementation of the Healthy, Hungry Kids-Eat Free Act school meal programs participation has increased by 10 percent. Three percent more children are eating a school breakfast with high nutritional value giving them a good healthy start to their day. Nationally throughout our schools those who have participated in the meal programs show a total increase of 25 percent in student participation. Since the increase in breakfast participation and nutritional implementation schools across the nation have seen an increase in attendance, academics, performance and concentration. An inner-city school stated that "We had fewer behavior issues 6 months after the program was implemented." A study done in Minnesota showed that the kids that participated in the breakfast program where concentrating better and more alert.

Even with participation increasing there are growing concerns with whether or not the children will actually enjoy the food or will it cause more waste. According to multiple studies research has shown that kids are enjoying the nutritional alternatives that have been injected into the school meals. A recent Harvard study shows that under the updated standards, kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch. Jamie Stang, did a research study on 1000 children and their food choices after the Healthy, Hungry-Kids Free Act it showed that children selecting fruit rose from 53 percent to 76 percent, vegetables consumption went up by 16 percent. The students also consumed 16 percent more of their entire meal. "These results suggest that the new school meal standards have improved students' overall diet quality" (Stang, Sect. Study Details, Par. 5). Elementary schools report that students overall liked the new lunches.

Many media articles state that schools are seeing more waste in the lunch rolls with the new food programs. Children are taking the food because they "have" to but just putting it into the trash. A group of researcher's form Boston went to four different schools before and after implementation found that the waste had not increased and the students are eating and enjoying the new meal programs. The USDA states that there has been a significant amount of waste but it's not because the children aren't eating food or by the type of food being offered, but because there are more options to choose from. The USDA is currently looking into how to cut back the waste, but are not willing to compromise the integrity of nutritional meals and no child goes hungry.

With waste being a factor and billions of dollars being plugged into school meal programs does this do anything for the overall health of children. One of the concerns is that children are getting nutritional meals but that does nothing for them when they get home. The USDA SNAP program released the statement "The study found that children participating in certain nutrition meal programs increased their daily fruit and vegetable consumption at home by a quarter to a third cup and where more likely to choose low-fat or fat-free milk" (USDA, Report. Par. 2). The changes in the school meal programs are giving children more options to choose what they like in a nutritional way which is leading them to make these choices outside of school. Several months after the meal program change, school's that switched out half of the snacks in vending machine to a more nutritious choice where surprised to see that 75 percent of the children choose the healthier snack. Showing that small changes can make lasting changes.

Along with the Healthy, Hungry-Kids Eat Free Act the bill enforces that a wellness program be implemented in schools. The wellness program is in charge of offering nutritional and health support to children, parents, and staff. All of the schools that are involved in the program are given nutritional marketing material so they can post in their schools. Several schools have implemented a higher level of nutritional education for students and informational classes for teachers. "Research shows that kids eat what they know and toss what they don't....." (Joshi, Education is Key, P. 4) so the USDA has partnered with 40,000 schools across all 50 states to participate in the farm-to-hand activities. This allows children to go to local farms and see how the food is grown and harvested and brought to their tables. Some schools have implemented gardens in their school yards. Teaching children the importance of nutrition and giving them a hands-on approach to making changes in their eating habits. The hope is show them that healthy options are out and how to make them.

The most important thing is our children's overall health and wellness. So many children rely on the school meal programs that provide two meals a day as it is their only source of food daily. Since it is their only source of food it is important to make sure they have the proper nutrients to grow and develop and not just consume fatty unhealthy options. Now that the school meal programs are being revised and mandated it is allowing students to have better access to the proper nutrition in order to be the most successful students and children they can be. Althoughthe cost is high and it may not benefit everyone, being able to have access to these programs provides proper nutrition and eduction for daily and long term benefits.

ReskiRamadani88 5  
Nov 4, 2016   #2
Hello i will give you suggestion:

[b1.Check your sentence[/b]
2. Be careful article (a, an, the) using
3. Be careful conjunction using

..., Hungry-Kids Free Act, are growing topic nationally and should be a priority in schools.( they are national topics which grow up in this time)

With children spending a third of their day in school ..., (Children usually spend a third of their days in the school and they eat meals more much a day).

it is important to see what role schools play in the ... it is important to see what is the role model of the schools to development of education about nutrition for children/ students.

OP SummerV  
Nov 6, 2016   #3

Home / Research Papers / This paper is about the nutrition importance in school meal programs.