Proper nutrition is the kick-start to a child’s life. It paves the way for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, dental caries, iron deficiency, and osteoporosis. Unfortunately, there are children in the U.S. that still face hunger and food insecurity. If a household lacks income, access and other resources for food, children may experience lower dietary quality and undernutrition. In turn, undernutrition can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and school performance.
Luckily, there is a place children are guaranteed a nutritious meal. In the United States, more than 30 million children rely on school-provided meals each day. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides these meals and operates in more than 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools.
As October 15-19 is National School Lunch Week (NSLW), it’s a time to reflect on all the positive developments in school lunch programs and educate communities about the importance of healthy school food. Because of the NSLP, children who wouldn’t normally have access to healthy food are offered a recipe for success. In addition to preventing obesity and diabetes, a healthy diet can also influence a child’s behavior and academic success.
The school environment is a great place to teach healthy eating habits. Have schools in your community made healthy changes to the meals offered? Is nutrition education incorporated into the curriculum? Check out School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for strategies to implement in your community!
Want to know more?
Two Angry Moms: http://angrymoms.org/
Nutrition Standards in Schools: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/nutrition/standards.htm
School Nutrition Association: http://www.schoolnutrition.org/