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The impact of school Nutrition Policies on Elementary School students’ Health in Los Angeles

The impact of school Nutrition Policies on Elementary School students’ Health in Los Angeles

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The impact of school Nutrition Policies on Elementary School students’ Health in Los Angeles

The food students consume in school makes up between 19 and 50 percent of their daily intake of energy. With the rise in obesity among schoolchildren, it has become necessary for the government to impose some policies regulating the quality of dietary intakes the children have in schools. Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, school nutrition programs are subject to federal nutritional standards for them to be subsidized. These include school-provided breakfasts, lunches and snacks. However, other competitive foods that are not state funded and are sold in schools are not subject to the set nutritional standards. With the rising need to improve school diets, the state and local authorities have created some policies to restrict products that are poor in nutrients and are high in calories as these have been major contributors to the rising level of obesity in children. The introduction of these policies has brought about various changes in the competitive foods sold in school as well as the nutritional level of the foods consumed by children in school. This is in an attempt to ensure better health for children resulting to better health and performance for the nation.

The research seeks to answer the following question:

How effective are the school nutrition policies in providing adequate, nutritious and wholesome food to school going children?

This question is important, as the main reason for formulating the policies is to ensure that schoolchildren get diets with the appropriate nutritional requirements for their age. It is evident that there is a problem in the dietary structure of schools in Los Angeles based on the rising number of children with obesity. This makes it important to research on the impacts of the set policies to identify whether their objectives are being achieved, or if more still needs to be done to ensure that children get the level of nutrition required.

The reason of focusing the research on elementary school children is that they are in their formative years where they are still experiencing growth; hence, their diet should comprise of highly nutritious foods. Considering that approximately half of the energy consumed is in foods consumed at school, the nutritional level of the food consumed at school should be checked. The study is appropriate as it identifies the effort that the federal government in conjunction with the states and local municipalities has put to ensure better diets for schoolchildren. It explores the impact of the policies that have been set, and in the end provides recommendations on what more can be done to ensure that the objective of better health is achieved.

This research will employ both the quantitative methodology and qualitative methodology. The quantitative methodology will be reliant on existing statistics from previously conducted surveys on childhood obesity. The children sampled will be those who take school diets, and those who carry homemade food. Percentages comparing the two identified categories will allow a clear difference to be identified to prove that school diets are indeed the causes of the high level of poor health in elementary school children. Qualitative methodology will be used where schoolchildren and school staff’s views will be considered, by giving them questioners and interviews to gain their opinion on the subject under study. It will also be helpful when forming a conclusion on the impact of the nutritional policies on the children’s health.

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