Schools and their Role in Nutrition and Physical Activity

February 11, 2022

 Just 9% of high school students meet the fruit recommendation, and only 2% meet the vegetable recommendation. 

Schools play a critical role in supporting children and adolescents to eat healthily and get regular physical activity. They provide learning opportunities through the use of wellness policies and practices in addition to using an effective health education curriculum. Vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, can help protect against a number of serious and costly chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Fruits and vegetables also provide important vitamins and minerals that help the human body work as it should and fight off illness and disease. 

Although most American children’s families would benefit from improving their fruit and vegetable intake, some families may find it difficult to acquire fruits and vegetables in the first place.  Research shows that residents of low-income, minority, and rural neighborhoods have less access to stores that sell healthy foods, including a variety of fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Grocery shopping is an important component of our day-to-day life, although selecting the right foods can be challenging. Therefore, converting just any food shopping to healthy grocery shopping is vital for someone who wants to stay healthy.

Despite the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, Americans are not consuming enough in their daily diet. States and communities can help citizens consume more fruits and vegetables by making them convenient and affordable in the places where children and adults live, work, learn,  and play. This is particularly important for individuals and families that face food insecurity or lack access to stores selling quality products at reasonable prices.  

Educating students on the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important, but alone you could choose whole grain over white bread, cook more homemade meals, eat less starchy vegetables, add fruit into your meals, track your diet, reduce your sugary drink intake, and incorporate more protein into your diet. After dinner, teach yourself to think of the kitchen as being closed for the night and brush your teeth — you’ll want to eat less with a newly cleaned mouth. If a craving hits, wait 10 minutes. If you’re still truly hungry, reach for something small. Keep only healthy snacks within reach, such as hummus, carrots and cucumber slices, air-popped popcorn, yogurt, and almonds. The key to nutritional success is to know what you really want, and you could reward yourself with your favorite foods for trying to eat healthier.

 

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Photo of Xavier Hinkle
Xavier Hinkle, Writer/Photographer

Hello. I am Xavier Hinkle, and I am a Junior here at Chatfield. This is my second year of the Newspaper and Broadcasting class. I started taking this class...

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