Food for Thought

Feeding student success today for a healthy and vibrant community tomorrow.

Why Student Nutrition Programs?

Well-documented research shows a clear link between good nutrition, improved school performance and better overall health. Active and well-nourished children and youth are more likely to be better prepared to learn and maintain their health, as they move into adulthood, while undernourished children have lower self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and are absent from school more often.

Poor eating habits and lack of physical activity are contributing to the rising rates of childhood and adolescent obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Statistics show that almost one in every three children in Ontario is now at an unhealthy weight. (The Health and Fitness Journal of Canada, 2011)

Schools provide an ideal setting for the promotion of healthy eating, for access to nutritious foods and for role modeling healthy food choices. According to the journal of Public Health Nutrition (2007), universal school based programs have the potential to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children and help reduce unhealthy weights by increasing kids’ knowledge about nutrition and healthy food choices (Pascal CE, 2009).

Student nutrition programs are beneficial in many ways. They help:

  • Contribute to a child’s overall health;
  • Improve students’ cognitive performance and their educational achievement;
  • Improve classroom behaviour;
  • Provide a safety net for children and youth who may be at risk of not eating an adequate breakfast in the morning because they are not hungry, their parents are not home, breakfast may be a low priority, or there may be financial concerns;
  • Provide a vehicle for delivering nutrition education and consistent healthy eating messages; and,
  • Foster a sense of community by providing a way to involve the parents of school children and other agencies.

Creating a Healthy School Nutrition Environment: A Resource for School Decision Makers, Brant County Health Unit, 2005