POLICY PRIORITY ISSUE 1
Nutrition remains one of the core aspects oflife. Proper nutrition is an important aspect in all fields, whichare inclusive of schools and other institutional platforms. At times,it becomes tough to maintain recommendable nutrition and dietaryhabits thus necessitating the need for policies to enforce suchmeasures. This context will describe one such policy that willenforce good nutrition habits in schools thus promoting a healthylifestyle among the students.
Importanceof School Nutrition
Early childhood and adolescence stages arecritical during the development of children since most parts of thegrowth process takes place in the mentioned phases[ CITATION Cvj14 l 1033 ].Thus, consumption of quality and healthy diet is important as itplays an essential role in the growth process. One is likely tomaintain the eating and dietary lifestyles they adopted in thisstage. Wellbeing and healthy conditions will depend on the dietarylifestyles and eating habits thus it isimportant to maintain the proper habits[ CITATION Cum14 l 1033 ].Recommended habits will help students to avoid dietary and healthrelated problems such as dental caries, obesity and lack of orreduced physical activity. Additionally, adoption of proper eatingpatterns will help students to avoid or reduce the risk ofcontracting chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2, osteoporosis,hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and cancer in their later lifestages.
Reasonsfor Choosing School Nutrition
The issue of school nutrition is important tome due to many reasons. One of the reasons is that I have a child inschool. Due to the nature of my profession, I am not always around tocook for my child or choose the food she consumes. Most of the timeshe eats her food (namely breakfast and lunch) in school.it isimportant for the school has a policy, which monitors the type offood that they provide to their students to prevent any healthproblems arising from the same. From a nursing perspective, most ofthe school`s stakeholders have not taken the issue of nutrition withthe weight it deserves[ CITATION Rob14 l 1033 ].Most of the school`s stakeholders just provide food types that arecost effective without considering the health implications they mighthave on students. As a nursing professional, I am interested inensuring that students get a balanced and healthy diet that willimprove their health whisk at the same time increase their resistanceto diseases and infections.
World health organizations and other local foodprograms in conjunction with the federal government of the UnitedStates realized of the negative effects of the poor feeding habitsand sought to introduce policies to monitor this menace.In the pastyears, the mentioned bodies have input efforts to monitor schooldietary habits and food lifestyles. Most of these efforts have beenpartially successful while some have completely failed to bear anyfruits due to lack of support from the stakeholders. The implementedpolicies have solely focused on risk factors of lifestyle and dietaryproblems. The implemented policies have also focused on energyimbalances and physical activity, which on most scenarios willdetermine the weight of the children.
The so introduced policies encompassregulations and related rules that apply to a school`s diet. Themandates also ensure that the availed food is healthy. However, whatthe students end up consuming may not always have the requirednutritional benefits. It is worthwhile to note that a single junkmeal may not have a permanent impact on the child’s health butregular consumption of such diet is what is unhealthy from both thephysical and mental perspectives[ CITATION San15 l 1033 ].
Lunchand Breakfast Standards
In 2012, the federal government of the UnitedStates updated its national breakfast and lunch school programs[ CITATION Sch15 l 1033 ].The new changes encompassed the inclusion of vegetable and fruits, asseparate dishes in these programs. Fruits were inclusive in the dailymeal, whole and half grains were part of the dishes. Additionally,the schools were to give varying grades to meal sizes while at thesame time reduce trans-fat and sodium in the meals. The main issue isthat not all schools comply with these new standards meaning thatexposing their students to the risks of unhealthy meal choices. Someof the other schools that are complying with these standards haveonly done so partially meaning that stakeholders have a lot of workto do for full implementation and adoption of the policy.
Goalsof School Nutrition Policy
This policy intends to fulfill many goals thatwill improve the state of lunch and breakfast programs in schools.One of the goals will be to introduce a regular inspection program inschool. The inspection program will mandate for regular inspection ofschool food programs, and platforms to ensure they are complying withthe set standards. The introduction of an enforceable physicalexercise program to ensure the students remain physically active isanother objective. Another policy goal is to eliminate junk food fromthe school`s food programs to ensure healthy lifestyles. The policyalso aims at introducing rules to prevent students from carrying anyfood substance in the school compounds to ensure whatever theconsumer is under control and falls under healthy food category.Finally, the policy will streamline the existing policies andintroduce expected consequences in the case of lack of compliance.
Many options are viable in the introduction andimplementation of this nutrition policy. Some of the viable optionsare inclusive of overhauling the existing rules and regulations ofschool nutrition and elimination if the current food standards. If anoverhaul is the line of action, then it will require formulation andintroduction of new policies and standards to deal with this issue ofnutrition. Another option is to introduce regulatory boards that willindicate the particular type of food materials that the students willconsume[ CITATION Abb16 l 1033 ].Another option is to scrap the current food programs to come up withnew ones that will receive regular updates to accommodate for thedynamism in the nutrition industry. Banning junk foods in schoolscanteen and food programs is also another viable option. Prohibitingthe students from carrying their foodstuff into the school compoundwill also augur well with the efforts to eliminate the consumption ofjunk food.
The introduction of new rules and regulationsto deal with violators and non-compliances of the school`s breakfastand lunch programs.
Implementation of new standards that willhighlight the specific dietary and energy calories requirements to becontained in the meals to prevent underweight or overweightsituations.
The inclusion of specific health and balanceddiet requirement ensure that students only consume those meals willthat will provide nutritional benefits.
The introduction of a regulatory board thatwill monitor the health programs and existing rules to ensure theydeal with any arising issues.
Formulation of policies to allow the creationof regulatory frameworks and boards to inspect schools programs andfood offered to ensure it is within the required standards.
Sourceof Information on Current-Status of the Issue
In the United States of America, you will findseveral programs that deal with similar issues described in thispolicy. The Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2012 is one of theexamples of such a School Nutrition Association site. The policy aimsto improve children nutrition.
The issue of school nutrition involves all thelevels of the government inclusive of the local, state and federallevels. However, I will be targeting the state level since it issmall scaled and manageable. Additionally, the level is alsoappropriate due to its manageable resources requirements and easyaccessibility. I have the support of the local state legislator thusit is another reason for sticking to this particular level.
I contacted the Sen. Anitere Flores, who is thestate legislator. The legislator promised to provide all help theycan towards the realization of the outlined goals.
In conclusion is crucial to pinpoint theimportant role of school nutrition in a child’s life and academicperformance. Due to lack of seriousness in dietary and lifestylematters in school, it is important to set polices such as the schoolnutrition and food standards, which ensures that children consumeonly dietary supplements that, have benefits in their lives.
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Cummings, P. L. (2014). Nutrient content of school meals before and after implementation of nutrition recommendations in five school districts across two US counties. Preventive Medicine, 67, S21-S27.
Cvjetan, B. J. (2014). The Social Environment of Schools and Adolescent Nutrition: Associations Between the School Nutrition Climate and Adolescents` Eating Behaviors and Body Mass Index. Journal of School Health, 84( 10), 677-682.
Roberto, C. A. (2014). The need for public policies to promote healthier food consumption: A comment on Wansink and Chandon (2014). Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24(3), 438-445.
Sanchez-Vaznaugh, E. V. (2015). Association between competitive food and beverage policies in elementary schools and childhood overweight/obesity trends: differences by neighborhood socioeconomic resources. JAMA Pediatrics , 169(5), e150781-e150781.
Schwartz, M. B. (2015). New school meal regulations increase fruit consumption and do not increase total plate waste. Childhood Obesity, 11(3), 242-247.