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The Responsibility of Healthy School Lunches - Essay Example

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This essay talks about the great concern about obesity among children and adolescents, the quality of school lunches and the ideas of ensuring that children are eating nutritious food at school and are also making health conscience decisions have also come into question…
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The Responsibility of Healthy School Lunches
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Download file to see previous pages The essay "The Responsibility of Healthy School Lunches" talks about the obesity problems among children and adolescents. The paper also tries to identify who is primarily responsible for the children's lunches: parents or schools. When looking at available information regarding the health of children in reference to the lunches that they are eating at school, it appears that many feel that specific parties have a responsibility in correcting the problem. One of the reasons why school lunches are being so closely examined is because of the alarming increase in childhood obesity. Since the 1970’s, childhood obesity has doubled. Seventeen percent of children now have a body mass index in the 95th percentile.
Thirty-four percent of children are also at risk for obesity due to lifestyle factors. The health implications of being obese are of concern as well. Medical studies have shown that obesity in children and adolescents has to lead to several cardiovascular diseases to include hypertension and heart attack and also diseases such as type II diabetes. Studies also have shown evidence of depression and low self-esteem within children and adolescence that are obese. The questions being asked now are how to begin to solve the problem and where are the greatest sources of the problems. Some health care professionals feel that schools need to approach the problem of childhood obesity holistically, not only through diet but also through education about healthy choices and how to make them. In addition, many health care professionals feel that school is where the child spends a lot of their time, and therefore where they can be most influenced. Several healthcare professionals believe that because schools are places of learning and therefore should create programs that promote and encourage healthy decisions and also show the children what healthy options are available within school and how to make healthy decisions at home (Battista and Wright). Other healthcare professionals blame schools for unhealthy eating habits because they create an unhealthy environment for eating. Many schools have shortened their lunch periods so much that many students will only have seven minutes to eat once they get through the line and sit down at the table. According to Dr. Arthur Agastan, because students have such a short amount of time to eat, children are making food decisions that are fast to order and eat, which are often the unhealthy choices. This in turn sets them up to only want fast food, especially when there is a time constraint (Parker-Pope). There are some opinions that feel the government should be doing more to improve the quality of school lunches. Recently, the government passed legislation that limits the amount of calories that can be served within a school lunch. However, just because it is lower in calories does not mean that the lunch is healthier or more nutritious. Often healthier and more nutritious options cost considerably more than the less healthy alternatives. Because healthier options cost more, either the school cannot afford to provide the healthier food, especially in schools which have a high enrollment of providing free lunch or the families cannot afford to pay the full price for the lunch (Ren). In these cases there are opinions which call for local, state and federal government agencies to increase funding of these programs so that schools can afford to provide healthier options ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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