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Balanced diet not only helps them in their physical growth but also ensures mental alertness that facilitates their academic advancements. Also, the increasing concern of rapidly growing obesity amongst children in America has emerged as major social problem. In US, in the last three decades, and obesity in children and adolescent has nearly tripled (HHS News, 2001, ref.1). At the same time, lack of proper nourishment amongst children coming from impoverished families of immigrants, have compounded the problem of academia where children are not able to cope with the stress of the education curricula. In such a scenario, school lunches serve as vital linkages for creating facilitating environment for improved academic results and healthy eating habits. Thesis statement School lunches would help inculcate better eating habits amongst children and thereby help arrest the increasing tendency of obesity amongst American children. Rationale for the proposal Good nutrition and healthy food significantly contributes to a child’s proper growth and general well being that helps to improve his or her academic achievements. In the increasing pluralistic society, the diversity of race, income and nationality has brought forth huge social problems of conflicting ideologies and wide income disparity. The children living in impoverished conditions in the neighborhood colonies have inadvertently become innocent victim of the time. Delgade (2005) asserts that in 2000, 35.7% of Latino population was less than 18 years of age and therefore, in 20 years of time, there will be lot more younger Latinos. There is huge number of dropouts because of many reasons, not the least important being poverty and lack of will to educate themselves. US census corroborates his statement and confirms that that by 2050, Latinos will reach 25% of the total U.S. population (US Census, 1999). This is staggering number could create mammoth social problem if the low literacy problem amongst children of the immigrant and impoverished families is not addresses urgently. Mid day lunch in schools would provide them with healthy food and help meet their physical, mental and emotional need when they would be better able to contribute positively to their academic grades. Obesity amongst children of mainstream American population is another worrying aspect which must be tackled in more effective manner. CDC data reveals that from 1980 to 2008, childhood obesity had increased from 6.5% to nearly 20% for 6-11 year olds and 5% to 18% for 12-19 year olds. Studies have shown that fat intake of children in US has inadequate amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, but excessive amounts of fats. The increasing tendency towards fast food promotes sedentary lifestyle which causes obesity (Ebbeling et al., 2002; Smith, 1999). The widespread ramifications of obesity considerably increase risks to life and health. Diseases like high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes are some of the major by products of obesity. The children therefore must be encouraged towards healthy dietary habits and active lifestyle. Solution to the problem The advancing technology has covertly promoted sedentary lifestyle amongst children as children have become addicted to the computers, television and mobile phones. This has also resulted in bad eating habits and erratic schedule. The increasing consumption of fast food and aerated drinks by amongst children and adolescents are the major causes for their obese and overweight problems as they are high on calories and low on nourishment. The policy of school lunch for students during school hours, therefore, becomes highly relevant for children as it would encourage healthy diet at the right time. The
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Ultimately, one would think that the parents are primarily responsible for what their children eat and their health. However, there are many school and health professionals who hold the views that responsibility for the quality of school lunches falls with the school and federal and local governments also.
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