Communities in schools believe that a child's ability to succeed is impeded when they are not receiving the correct health care. Children need a healthy start before they begin schooling. When nutrition education, physical activity and a healthy school environment are ensured, learning is enhanced and students develop lifelong, healthy eating habit.
It is important for nutrition education programmes to be implemented as early as possible which will also go a long way to prevent illness from developing later in children's lives. Health and success in schools are interrelated. Schools cannot achieve their primary mission of education if students and staff are not healthy and fit physically, mentally, and socially.
The physical activity and eating behaviour that affect weight are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, community organisations, health care providers, faith-based institutions, businesses, government agencies, the media, and schools. The involvement of all of these sectors will be needed to reverse the epidemic.
Educators, nutritionists and public health departments have all concluded that students' entire school experience depends much on food and nutrition. There is powerful evidence linking parental involvement to success of schools. Parents are already making significant contributions to their children's development. If students are only interested in fast food, don't blame them. There are many obstacles to children's good nutrition today, including advertising efforts of the fast food industry that are aimed at children. Food in school is not often linked to education and frequently mimics the foods in the fast food culture.
A food-based curriculum encourages students to accept diverse healthful foods in the school lunch programme realising that food affects not only the physical health of the student, but also his or her behaviour and academic performance.
Schools and their surrounding communities need to work together to improve the nutritional quality of food in schools. Another goal of this school nutrition programme is to link more nutrition experts to local schools where they can provide expertise and help support ongoing efforts to maintain the integrity of the various initiatives.
Nutrition should be taught as a part of the health curriculum because, it is important for children to learn healthy lifestyle behaviours. Nutrition is the area of health that focuses on planning a healthful diet and includes choosing a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid, adhering to dietary guidelines, reading food labels, making food selections to reduce the risk of disease, making healthful selections when dining out, considering food safety, maintaining desirable weight, and avoiding harmful eating patterns, and recognising eating disorders. As part of any comprehensive health programme, nutrition should be integrated across the curriculum, in all subject areas. Nutrition is important to teach students at any level.
I believe that all of these different categories should be taught in the school health education programme. I think that it is important to teach this topic as early as kindergarten but, I also think that it is important to continue nutrition education throughout middle school and also throughout high school. Appropriate nutrition education to recipients of child and adolescent food and nutrition programmes is recognised as a key factor in health promotion/chronic disease prevention.
The school health teachers can hold a parent/community forum that would inform the parents and the community that the students are learning nutrition in school and that they should try to encourage their sons/daughters to eat healthy. The parents can also learn the positives and negatives of proper nutrition. They can do this buy cooking healthy food, sending them to school with nutritious lunches, if they bring lunch from home, and they should serve healthy snacks to their kids. Parents are potent role models for children and they can provide opportunities for children to practice healthful eating behaviors and reinforce these behaviors at home.
The health programme can sponsor a nutrition awareness week at the school. One day they can have a food festival in the cafeteria and the students in the health classes and whoever wants can participate in the festival. Each student will make a dish that is nutritious. Their dish will be judged and the winners will get their recipes printed in the school newspaper.
So from now on we should talk about nutrition, serve nutrition, and teach nutrition in school and community level for healthy student, healthy nation.
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