United States of America is currently facing a health crisis where approximately twenty percent of six million adults are dying from health complications related to obesity or overweight. The major cause of obesity is poor eating habits developed at a child’s early age. Every child spends most of their time in schools and these are the only places where we establish best foundations for healthy eating habits. Therefore, the ban on consumption of junk food in schools should not be lifted, for schools to meet short-term financial needs and in the end, put our children’s health at risk.
Schools have an obligation to promote healthy eating behaviors in their students because this promotes optimal student health and intellectual growth hence averting immediate health complications such as obesity, dental carries, anemia, and eating disorder. The long-term benefits of promoting healthy eating habits in schools include preventing stroke, cancer, and heart diseases. School healthy eating programs help students and adolescents in attaining good health, and full educational potential through provision of skills, environmental support, and social support needed in adopting healthy eating habits in future. Schools programs such as nutrition education programs, from preschool to the 12th grade play an important role on the diet students choose.
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Florida has laid down one of the best foundations to help schools provide and educate the students on healthy eating habits. Food Corps is one association that connects teachers and students to eating healthy foods in schools (Fox et al 2005). The association is of assumption that, every student that is well nourished and has a healthy eating habit is always ready to learn. The association teaches gardening, cooking, and tasting; as students love eating what they have prepared. Food Corps have established cafeteria that directs students to healthiest options,making them to try new provided healthy foods.
Schools in Florida are making substantial changes like initiating the Farm to School program collaborating with local farmers, United States Department of Agriculture, and Department of Defense through the national schools lunch programs across the state of Florida (Morgan & Soninno 2013). The initiative permits the cooperative in producing and selling of fresh vegetables and fruits to schools. The program ensures there is continuous flow of farm produce in the schools cafeterias. The initiative intends to reduce millions of dollars spent by schools to provide fresh greens and ensures that cash involved stay within the state. Farm to School initiative encourages agriculture and nutrition education to students via school gardening, taste tests, farm tours, and composting programs. The program help the students to understand where their food is coming from, and how better choice of food affect their health.
The schools have involved many stakeholders in the discussion of dietary factors that affect their children health in schools. The first stakeholders are the parents through the school annual general meetings. The elected board members of the schools and the government are stakeholders that made the decision of banning junk foods in school cafeteria, and instead introduced fresh fruits and vegetables. The nutritionists are the other stakeholder that teacheson consequences of allowing junk foods in schools.
Schools are the only place where the government can establish the best foundation to long-term healthy eating habits in children. Obesity, cancer, and heart diseases are health crisis. The government has a duty to solve these health problems. It is not only the duty of government and schools but for society to cooperate in reversing this alarming health crisis in our country. The government therefore should not at any time lift the ban of junk foods in schools.
Morgan, K., & Sonnino, R. (2013). The School Food Revolution : Public food and the challenge of sustainable development. Routledge.
Fox, S, Meinen, A, Pesik, M, Landis, M, & Remington, P. L. (2005 ). Competitive Food Initiatives in Schools and Overweight in Children : a review of the evidence. WMJ-MADISON.