Rough Draft of Final Project Assignment
School Nutrition/Fitness Recommendation
June 21, 2021
Date: June 20, 2021
To: Fred Smith CEO Diabetes Network
Subject: Recommendation for Nutrition/Fitness in schools to prevent diabetes among students.
This report aims to provide recommendations on how schools can implement fitness and nutrition programs to prevent the onset of diabetes among children in schools. Often, children suffer from hunger, as their parents lack enough resources to provide proper meals, including a balanced diet. Notably, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity can negatively impact a child’s class performance and increase their risk of contracting diabetes or obesity. This report will include surveys attempting to find a correlation between fitness or proper nutrition and children’s behavior that eventually impacts their performance. Conclusively, the report will offer recommendations for fitness and nutrition for schools in North Carolina districts.
Studies have found that children with access to proper nutrition and physical exercise perform better in their school tasks or activities during their learning course. A balanced diet constitutes foods from all groups, including vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, minerals (dairy), and fruits. The image below demonstrates an example of a balanced diet containing all the required nutrients in a day.
Image Source: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/choosemyplate-healthy-food-and-plate-of-usda-royalty-free-image/168340083
Although each child requires nutrients from the demonstrated food groups, each individual has varying requirements depending on their age and sex. For instance, based on activity level, females between the ages of 4 to 8 require between 1200 to 1800 calories per day (Iannelli, 2020). This quantity constitutes between 3 to 5 ounces of protein, 2 to 3 cups of vegetables, 1 to 2 cups of fruits, 2 to 3 cups of dairy, and 4 to 6 ounces of grains (Mayo Clinic, 2021). On the other hand, boys need between 1,200 to 2,000 calories per day, which is more than girls (Iannelli, 2020). Notably, their daily requirement for proteins ranges between 3 to 5.5 ounces of protein, 4-6 ounces of grains, 1.5 to 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 to 3 cups of dairy, and 1 to 2 cups of fruits.
Further, females between the ages of 9 and 13 require between 1,400 and 2,200 calories based on their physical activity level (Iannelli, 2020). Thus, this group requires about 4-6 ounces of protein, 5 to 7 ounces of grains, 1 to 3 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, and 3 cups of dairy (Mayo Clinic, 2021). In contrast, males require more calories than girls, with daily requirements ranging between 1,600 and 2,600 calories depending on their activity level. Therefore, it is recommended that boys in this age group consume between 5 and 6.5 ounces of protein, 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables, 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits, 6 to 8 ounces of grains, and 3 cups of dairy.
For girls between the ages of 14 and 18, the daily calorie requirement ranges between 1,800 and 2,400. Thus, active girls require 2,400 calories, while those that engage in moderate exercise or physical activity need 2,000 calories (Iannelli, 2020). In this case, females within this age group need about 1.5-2 cups of fruit, 6 to 8 ounces of grains, 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein, 3 cups of dairy, and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables (Mayo Clinic, 2021). On the other hand, boys need between 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day (Iannelli, 2020). Given this, males require between 5.5-7 ounces of protein, 2.5-4 cups of vegetables, 2-2.5 cups of fruits, 3 cups of dairy, and 6 to 10 ounces of grain.
Image Source: https://godswaytohealth.wordpress.com/changing-bad-eating-habits/
Nutrition plays a vital role in shaping a child’s development and learning abilities. Recent studies have found that nutrition can affect a child’s behavior, thinking skills, and school performance. Consequently, diets with high amounts of trans and saturated fats have been found to harm a child’s learning and memory (Wilder Research, 2014). Besides the direct impacts, nutrition can indirectly affect a student’s school performance. For instance, poor nutrition can lower a child’s immunity, leaving them susceptible to illnesses. This factor can lead to increased absenteeism, negatively affecting a child’s performance.
Research has shown that access to the proper nutrition that includes proteins, carbohydrates, and other food groups helps improve a child’s concentration and cognitive abilities while boosting their energy levels (Wilder Research, 2014). On the contrary, deficiencies in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, and zinc in the early years can harm a child’s cognitive abilities (Wilder Research, 2014). The other aspect is a correlation between nutrition and behavior. Previous research has found proper nutrition to improve a student’s psychosocial well-being, increased discipline, and reduced aggression and suspensions. Sufficient evidence has revealed that people need more calories during their teen years than in any other age. During the teenage period, children experience rapid growth and development (Wilder Research, 2014). Thus, lack of proper nutrition can prevent the child from experiencing average growth. In addition, without a healthy diet, a child within this age group can develop obesity or diabetes and have poor concentration during class time.
Physical education offers students a chance to maintain healthy bodies and to learn about healthy eating habits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nutrition education empowers children with the knowledge and skills to make healthy choices. However, the CDC report indicates that students in U.S. schools receive less than 8 hours of nutrition education per year. This duration is far below the recommended 40 to 50 hours required to influence behavior change among students. In addition, the percentage of U.S. schools that offer nutrition education has decreased from 84.6% in 2000 to 74.1% in 2014 (CDC, 2019). The graph below presents San Francisco Public Schools health survey results conducted by the CDC. The chart shows the correlation between healthy eating and students’ performance.
Image Source: https://nutritionpics.blogspot.com/2019/06/nutrition-and-student-performance-at.html
CDC, (2019). Nutrition Education. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/school_nutrition_education.htm
Iannelli, V. (2020). Weight Management Guide for Overweight Children. Verywellfamily. https://www.verywellfamily.com/weight-management-guide-2632244
Mayo Clinic, (2021). Nutrition for kids: Guidelines for a healthy diet.
Wilder Research, (2014). Nutrition and Students’ Academic Performance. Wilder Research. https://www.wilder.org/sites/default/files/imports/Cargill_lit_review_1-14.pdf
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