The Role of Schools in Ensuring Students Are Healthy and Well Nourished
There exists a powerful link between academic performance and quality nutrition provided to students. Research has shown that students who consume quality food are able to attain higher grades in classes, better behaviors and increased focus and attention (Crawford, Gosliner, & Kayman 2011) Furthermore, students are able to engage more in physical activities considering the fact food provides energy needed for such activities. This means that schools that provide their students with healthy food significantly improves the students’ academic excellence and overall well being. On the other hand, kids that do not eat nutritious foods are academically disadvantaged. In essence, well nourished and healthy students have higher chances of actively engaging in the learning process and attending school.
There are various measures that can be taken by schools to ensure that students are well nourished and healthy. Notably, students spend most of their time in school and it would only be prudent to provide them with healthy diets. Some of these measures include: healthy feeding programs, collaboration with other stake holders, inclusion in school environments and review/monitoring. Firstly, schools play a very significant role in ensuring that the meals provided to students are safe and improve their well being through healthy feeding programs. For example, school lunches and breakfasts should not contain fatty foods such chips and sugary foods such as pastries and cookies. In this light, schools must promote consumption of healthy diets such vegetables and fruits. Research indicates that healthy breakfast dietary programs improve students’ classroom attentiveness and behaviors (Crawford, Gosliner, & Kayman 2011). Furthermore, nutritional diets significantly reduce diet related disease like childhood obesity.
Secondly, schools must collaborate with other stakeholders like media, legislators, health care facilities and media in addressing the issue of healthy diets (Basch 2011). It should not only be the responsibility of schools alone to provision of healthy diets. Schools should contact dietary health care practitioners in order to get informed decisions concerning diets. Similarly, legislators should be involved to ensure that each state conforms to specific feeding programs. Such laws could also cater for the needs of low income earners. Furthermore, the media in collaboration with schools could actively be involved by advertising healthy lifestyles among learning students. According to Basch (2011), over fifty million learners spend a large portion of their lives in such. As such, it would be imperative for schools to invest in health programs for school students.
Thirdly, inclusion is concerned with enabling every student to gain access to the feeding programs. There should no form of discrimination in relation to color, race, disability, or poverty. Every school must ensure that each student gains equal access to healthy feeding (Raffles international School 2015). As such, students with special needs should reasonably be catered for. This may also include charging lower rates for students that suffer from financial constraints. Therefore, inclusivity will ensure that every student’s need is addressed leading to healthy lifestyles. Fourthly, monitoring and review would also be a significant way in ensuring that healthy eating is promoted among students. This involves a regular check on the kinds of food given to children. In addition, monitoring can be done to ensure that students are taught on healthy eating habits. This can be done in liaison with the school doctor and school management team.
Providing students with healthy diets promotes academic excellence and behavior as discussed above. Furthermore, students would avoid diet related problems like obesity. As such, schools can employ strategies such as healthy feeding programs, inclusivity, and collaboration in order to ensure students are well nourished and healthy.
Basch, CE 2011, ‘Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap’, Journal of School Health, vol. 81, no. 10, pp. 593-598.
Crawford, PB, Gosliner, W & Kayman, H 2011, ‘Peer reviewed: The Ethical Basis for Promoting Health in Public Schools in the United States’, Preventing Chronic Disease, vol.8, no.5, viewed 5 May 2016, < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181198/>
Raffles international School 2015, Healthy Eating Policy. Viewed 5 May 2016, <http://www.rafflesis.com/asset/pdf/south/School_docs/policies/Healthy%20Eating%20Policy-Nov15.pdf.>