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Should schools be involved in dietary choices for the students or should it be up to the parents - Essay Example

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Should schools be involved in dietary choices for the students or should it be up to the parents

Further, schools have the unique ability to offer nutrition classes which teach children the importance of proper diet. If schools are not involved in all three phases of healthy living, offering nutritious foods, instruction and exercise, the battle to beat childhood obesity along with the negative effects will never be won. Approximately one-in-five school-aged children in the U.S. are obese, not simply overweight but are carrying a dangerous amount of excess weight. (Ogden, et.al.2010). Teaching children the negative health effects of obesity, what type of foods are the better choice and why while feeding them low-calorie; low-fat foods and making exercise compulsory has become necessary not just preferable. Obese children face a myriad of potential health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure which puts their life at risk and needlessly burdens the health care system. Initiatives by local school boards up to the federal government level have made a positive impact such as by taking vending machines stocked with sodas, chips and candy out of the cafeteria. As of the 2004-2005 school-years virtually all junior high and high schools contained what are called “competitive foods and beverages” from machines. Since 2009, however, times have changed dramatically regarding food choices for students. Schools now follow federal lunch program guidelines by putting a calorie ceiling on lunches and allow children to go back for all the fruit they want. (Fox, et.al 2009). This change has been seen as a tremendous success to some, others point out that there are difficulties in the transition process. Last year the Los Angeles Unified School District abruptly and radically altered its school lunch program in their effort to change children’s eating habits. It eliminated chicken nuggets, pizza, chocolate milk and many other long time favorites. Maybe the change was too sudden. Students subverted the new program by bringing their lunch, going off-campus for food and buying lunches at side entrances from an expanding lunch underground. “There have been reports of a thriving trade in black-market junk food, of pizzas delivered to side doors and of family-sized bags of chips being brought from home.” (Just/Wansink, 2012) Students filled garbage cans with nutritious foods instead of themselves. Evidently school kids must be encouraged and not forced to make better food choices. New federal government rules essentially replaces processed “junk” foods with fruits and vegetables although these guidelines are not as radical as the Los Angeles schools program. For the overall motive of reducing childhood obesity to be realized, the government on both federal and local levels must recognize methods that work as well as those that do not. “The federal government should think twice about this approach. As the Los Angeles example makes clear, trying to teach students to eat more healthful foods by removing other choices can backfire.” (Just/Wansink, 2012) It is well known that children tend to be rebellious especially when something they like is substituted for something they may not. Adults would react in the same manner if their steak and potatoes was substituted for carrots and apples. Forcing children to eat healthier types of foods will not work and will produce disruptive behaviors. They must be given the option. Research conducted at Cornell University shows that “ ...Show more
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Summary

Name Instructor Class Date Schools Must be Involved in Dietary Choices for Students The childhood obesity problem in this country has been well publicized the past three decades. Until recently schools have contributed to this growing issue as have parents and both must be involved in students food choices if the trend is ever to be reversed…
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