Millions of American Kids Are Missing Out on This Developmental Necessity
In this modern era, parents constantly multitask in an attempt to balance work, family, and other social obligations. In the midst of all this, families struggle to find meal options that fit both budget and lifestyle. As a result, many turn to less healthy choices that may cost them more than they realize. Balanced nutrition is critically important to a child’s proper development and a lack of nutrients can stunt children’s growth and lead to a variety of health issues, including obesity, hyperactivity and anemia. The Children’s Defense Fund found that lack of proper nutrition is related to many health issues including, but not limited to, disorders related to their mental well-being, such as anxiety, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities. Malnourished children are also more likely to suffer from obesity, which can trigger a number of other health issues, including high blood pressure, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. These disorders significantly impact children’s physical and psychological developmental and negatively impact their ability to learn.
Many families should be able to depend on local schools to provide their children with healthy breakfast and lunch options on schooldays. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2012 mandated that vegetables and fruits be part of every U.S. public school menu. However, the HHFKA has failed to provide enough funding to schools for them to provide healthy meals that students will actually eat. Instead, they receive increasingly processed foods that met the legal standards but don’t meet the taste standards of the students who have to eat them, resulting in increased food waste.
In order to provide children with the balanced nutrition necessary for their proper development and growth, schools need enough funding to buy healthy, natural and delicious ingredients to create lunch options that appeal to students.Every child should be able to receive at least one healthy, well-prepared meal a day from their local school. Sign the petition asking USDA Secretary Vilsack to increase the budget for school lunches. Give our schools the resources they need to provide our children with healthy lunch options.