Lack of nutrition education contains many impactful and systemic components. The four main players we identified in our system map are Socio-Economic Factors, Governmental Factors, Business Factors, and Nonprofit Organizations/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s). Our team wants to focus on the access and implementation of nutrition education in low-income schools.
Socio-economic factors impacting this problem include the lack of trained personnel to teach nutrition, and also a minimal emphasis placed upon nutrition education. This issue illuminates the larger systemic issues at hand, which can only be addressed by governmental factors. Not only is legislation required, but government programs that ensure equal access to food need to be addressed as well. In addition to the government, there are key business players that influence school nutrition. The companies that supply food to schools, through educational partnerships, largely impact the food provided to children. Addressing business alliances is essential. Lastly, there are many nonprofits and NGOs that focus on nutrition. Ensuring that these can be accessed and utilized by all students is a critical component in finding a multifaceted solution.
This is a bipartisan act that aims to increase nutrition-specific education in schools. This act is back by deferral funding with the goal of providing children with healthy food practices, especially those children living in areas that have high diet-related health risks as well as children living in areas where “40% of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.” The goal of this act is to increase hands-on nutrition education, so children have the opportunity to make connections with healthy food practices and gain knowledge as to how to implement them in their everyday lives. The stipulations surrounding which schools get the funding is as follows: “The Act provides grant funding to local educational agencies for projects that (1) hire full-time food and nutrition educators to implement programs in schools that have the goal of improving student health and nutrition and (2) that fund school gardens or other evidence-based interventions relating to student health and nutrition to create hands-on learning opportunities for students” (Booker, Cornyn Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand School Nutrition Education, 2020)
The US economy is relatively shut down due to Corona. Economists say that the economy will not be able to reopen until people gain the confidence to do business as normal. With 10 million Americans being pushed into unemployment due to the economic and business effects of coronavirus, many are in need of government support and aid. For healthy nutrition practices, this could mean that people are going to lean towards cheaper food options, which are traditionally unhealthier (Tankersley, 2020).
With coronavirus, there is a serious shift in the kinds of foods we will see on shelves at the grocery store. For example, with workers contacting coronavirus, there may be a shortage of food workers. Though there may be a food supply, there are is the question of how the food will be transported if people are not working. Furthermore, the virus has threatened the meat industry by saying the virus could result in shortages within this food group (Held, 2020).
Recent studies have found that the closer children live to fast-food chains, they are at higher risk for childhood obesity. This draws attention to the bigger problem that more than 1 in 4 children between the ages of 13 and 19 battle obesity or are overweight. This issue impacts minority groups to the greatest extent. That being said, the obesity risk remains stagnant regardless of proximity to grocery stores or sit-down restaurants. Though decreasing fast-food proximity is important, curbing childhood obesity remains a systemic issue (West, 2019).
Due to a surge in health consciousness, there has been a multitude of companies trying to capitalize on this trend. Many businesses are introducing new products that cater to nutritious and healthy eating practices. For example, the NutriBullet Balance connects your blender your smartphone to give your detailed insight into the nutrition data surrounding your food. This may help individuals track their nutrition but it begs the question, do they understand what the data means/how to improve their eating practices? (Bell, 2018)
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