School children need a good diet in order to grow, develop, be protected from disease and have the energy to study, learn and be physically active. We must recognize that schools are an ideal setting to support the nutrition and development of children and youth. Schools reach children at an age when food and health habits are being formed. They also influence families, the school community and can be a channel for wider community participation.
To be effective, school food and nutrition programs need to be supported by national policies, regulations and institutions. Promoting better diets and nutrition through schools can create health and well-being benefits that extend beyond the classroom to households and communities. Linking school meal programs to local food production can increase community involvement, strengthen and diversify local food systems, and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
We all must work together with our government to leverage schools’ potential through school food and nutrition programs, supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of food security, nutrition, education and health for everyone.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS PLAY A HUGE ROLE IN DECREASING FOOD INSECURITY! LOW-INCOME, PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS SHOULDN’T HAVE TO GO HUNGRY SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY HAVE LESS MONEY THAN OTHERS.
Food insecurity and insufficiency are associated with adverse health and developmental outcomes in U.S. children. Among 6 to 12 yr old children, food insufficiency was associated with poorer mathematics scores, grade repetition, absenteeism, tardiness, visits to a psychologist, anxiety, aggression, psychosocial dysfunction, and difficulty getting along with other children. Among 15 to 16yr old adolescents, food insufficiency was associated with depressive disorders and suicide symptoms after controlling for income and other factors. Recently, food insecurity was associated with poor social functioning, but not with academic performance or attained BMI, in kindergarten children.
These cross-sectional studies suggest that food insecurity has consequences for academic performance, social skills, and weight in children. But food insecurity is also in our homes, we as parents are no better, when we feed or allow our children to eat junk and non-nutritional foods. Even we have to do better with what we eat, a child only does what he or she sees their parents do.
Other Counties NOT ALL have long adopted feeding their school aged children healthy nutritious meals.