School of Saint Anthony, Lagro, Q.C. : Provide healthier options in the school cafeteria

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Schools are the place where we, students go to learn, and part of what we learn about, at least in certain grades, is nutrition. Even if what we learn about nutrition isn’t ideal due to the food industry’s influence on what is taught, the food served at school should set a healthy example. Students may like unhealthy foods, but the hypocrisy is not lost on them when schools serve food that is not healthy.

We, students need and deserve healthy foods. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, as recommended by the nutrition experts, can help us grow up physically healthy, mentally alert, and capable of meeting the challenges of our everyday life.

But in a food system dominated by unhealthy, artificially cheap processed foods, access to healthy food is a serious problem for many Filipino children. As a result, childhood obesity has grown rapidly over recent decades—especially for low-income and minority children—with long-term health consequences that will shorten lives and send health care costs soaring.

A study conducted in the USA showed that children at school may be exposed to large variety of unhealthy foods and drinks such as snack foods and soft-drinks which can be found on food stores inside the school (Anderson et al., 2003). A recent comprehensive assessment of the successful programs in preventing obesity in schools across the United States revealed that modifying the foods and drinks offered at school canteens such as offering and encouraging students to use water only as their beverage has been effective in preventing obesity among students (Nihiser et al., 2013). Another study at a primary school in Australia showed that children would buy more healthy foods and less unhealthy foods if healthy foods are advertised and displayed well (Rexha et al., 2005).Results of a study in the Philippines on childhood obesity showed that children in private schools are prone to obesity because they are exposed to calorie-rich foods and sedentary behavior at home and in school (Tanchoco et al., 2006).

Excessive intake on the quantity and quality of food could result to an increase in weight and obesity. Research shows that poor diet in children contributes to overweight by increased reliance on fast food restaurants and fatty snacks which led to an increase in calorie intake (Hofferth & Curtin, 2003). A study revealed that eating large portions of food in pre-school aged children leads to obesity by producing excessive intake at meals (Fisher, Rolls & Birch, 2003). The 2002 World Health Organization (WHO) reports on diet, nutrition and prevention of chronic diseases pointed out that consumption of energy-dense foods which are foods that have high fat or sugar content could highly influence weight gain and overweight. Consequences, which include increases in the rate of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes (Bray, 2004).

Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods

  • Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
  • Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
  • Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
  • Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake

This petition requests that the School of Saint Anthony encourage healthy eating. The school can take some simple measures to encourage healthy and balanced student diets. They can reduce processed snack food and candy offerings in order to stock salad bars with more fresh ingredients. Also, they can create guidelines for all foods available on the school campus during the school day to promote students` health and reduce obesity.

 Help sign this petition to tell School of St. Anthony Administration to: 

  • Cook FRESH FOOD for our lunches.
  • Increase the quantity of FRESH (not frozen or canned) fruits and vegetables served on a daily basis (E.g. provide a salad bar). 
  • Provide healthy, tasty beverage options like real fruit juices (basically, different drinks other than milk).
  • Eliminate artificial flavorings, additives, dyes, and preservatives.
  • Reduce fast-food meals

 For more information, go to this link. 

Sources:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health

http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/conferences/dlsu_research_congress/2014/_pdf/proceedings/FNH-II-013-ft.pdf

 



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