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A good and balanced diet has proven to have a significant effect on the physical and mental development of the child, especially in their early life. Studies have shown that good nutrition enhances school performance and learning abilities. Nutrition education is important in the early stages because is a key element to promoting lifelong healthy eating and exercise behaviors. To that extent, children who grow up in an environment that put value for the healthy eating habits, and physical activity, have less chance to have chronic diseases in adulthood. This essay will explore the importance of teaching nutrition basics in schools to students.
In an article called Nutrition Education in Schools: Experiences and Challenges, the author Rodrigo Peres states that “During school age, children become more independent”. They “start making their own food choices and take personal decisions regarding what they eat”. Peres continues to argue that “Nutrition during childhood contributes to maintaining health and optimal learning capacities. Furthermore, food habits that persist during adolescence are more likely to track into adulthood”. It is thus safe to conclude that it’s up to the children’s choice to be healthy, and that the child’s surroundings have a major effect on his mentality. When a school cares a lot about health, give special classes about nutrition for its students, and takes specific measures for encouraging self-recognition and protection, the kids will grow a sense of self-care and a good life-style.
Behavioral Science has proved that children choose the food that is more visible and accessible: a small change in the environment of the school cafeteria can have significant effects on the dietary selections of the children. Several studies have identified poor access and low consumption of fruit and vegetables in elementary school. Some programs start working on this problem by distributing fruits and vegetables in school and make it available for the students, this strategy has proved to be effective so far.
Children and young people should learn how to choose their food in society with wide food variety. Yet, teaching about nutrition basics should not only be limited to diet information, but should also teach the child skills related to food preparation, storage, and should help enhance positive body image and self-esteem.
School can follow several methods to teach nutrition basics, for example: classroom discussion, going shopping with the instructor, cooking class, and workshop activity. Schools can also use new technologies that provide a chance for interactive learning experiences such as: the Internet, World Wide Web, and CD-Roms.
As for a conclusion to this essay, nutrition education could be considered very influential to children at school level. As it has an immense effect on both their physical and cognitive growth. Schools should, and can find various approaches to encourage healthy diets.
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