The social issue we face is the lack of, or low quality, nutrition education that young students in America’s public school system experience. The health issues that can result from the lack of food nutrition indefinitely impact and deteriorate the quality of life of affected individuals. There is a lack of quality nutrition-specific education in middle- and high-schools. Even though there is a 40 to 50-hour minimum education requirement to make a true change, the majority of students in the United States only receive around 8 hours of nutrition-specific academic guidance (CDC). Furthermore, around 61% of public schools do not have interconnected classroom curriculums which results in a rather decentralized nutrition-focused academic program (National Center for Education Statistics).
Not only is there a lack of nutrition education, but the education that students do receive is inadequate. Schools may be increasing students’ knowledge about healthy food options; however, there is minimal focus on influencing the students’ behavior and attitude towards a healthy diet. It is stated that “less than one-third of schools provide thorough coverage of topics related to motivation, attitudes, and eating behaviors” (National Center for Education Statistics).
Nutrition education is not highly prioritized within the public school system. Moreover, there are severe health consequences as a result of inadequate nutrition-centric education. Specifically, obesity is a precursor to dismal health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, joint issues, among many others. All of these conditions could result in premature death (The Hill). This issue of obesity is especially relevant in the United States. Around 20% of adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 are considered obese (One Green Planet).
If children become more knowledgeable about the importance of a healthy diet and see the consequences of a poor diet, it is indicative that they would be more cognizant of their food intake throughout their lifetime. We plan on partnering with a non-profit organization to educate students and instill healthy eating habits. Taking an active educational approach that influences students’ behavior and attitude will establish a pathway to a healthier life.