The Kids Eat Smart Foundation is a charitable organization that has been registered since
1992. The foundation has established the support of the community and volunteers who deliver nutrition programs for children throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. They are focused on ensuring that every child has adequate nourishment before they attend class. At the beginning of 2006 there were over 4000 volunteers supporting 150 Kids Eat Smart Programs in the province. Together they help nourish approximately 17,000 school children. Although there is still need for increased recruitment of funding and volunteers in hopes to expand program services, helping many other children that need it.
The inability to recruit enough volunteers and funds to provide adequate aid to all students evenly in Newfoundland and Labrador, poses as a main weakness within the organization. There is only so much time and money a community volunteer can contribute. Therefore is essential to have bigger grants and donations from the government to ensure adequate aid is maintained. The fact is: the organization could be more productive with increased help but it has to be recognized, that the foundation has greatly improved the lives of many students. Providing children with nutritious meals in the morning has had a positive correlation with better grades, concentration and overall ability to learn.
There are not enough volunteers or funds to supply each school with equal time and nutritious meals for the students who go to school hungry.
To lower the amount of children going to school hungry, supplying them with healthy meals before they start their day.
Children are going to school hungry which is the cause of stomach aches, headaches and irritability. This ultimately interferes with their grades and ability to learn.
The foundation is helping to nourish approximately 17,000 school students, ensuring fewer children go to school hungry. Making sure that students have the option of healthy choices from Canada’s Food Guide at the beginning of the school day enhances student ability to learn.
The nutrition programs create a strong community atmosphere for the children, which help to instill consistent healthy eating choices. These choices are positively related to better grades and productivity for the students.
Volunteers are at a minimum with limited time and money. With more support from communities, family and friends; the programs could reach a larger mass.
Donations and funds are limited. There is only so much the government is willing to give in aid of theses programs. Increased funds would enable the foundation to help so many more kids in need.
The programs are not large enough to help everyone. Each community has a different amount of funds and volunteer support therefore there is a challenge to distribute equally, the same efforts in each community.
The programs have a chance to diminish stomach aches, headaches and irritability within students, by filing their bellies before class. This will jump start their day and will increase their ability to learn. This increases student attendance, grades, attention and behavior.
The World Health Organization states that youth are recommended ninety minutes of physical activities a day. Newfoundland children are only participating in sixty minutes a week. There is a threat that the Kids Eat Smart Foundation will not be able to reach its full potential if its efforts are not matched with consistent physical activity
That the financial, program and volunteer support will not be able to reach all of the hungry students, which enables poor attendance and grades from future doctors and lawyers. Students are not able to reach there potential with empty stomachs.
IDENTIFICATION AND EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES
One of World Bank’s prime advocacies is improving the nutrition of children to help reach other goals, such as the reduction of infant and child mortality and universal primary education. In turn, progress toward these other goals will help to improve children’s nutrition. The World Fit for Children declaration was endorsed by the 27th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in May 2002. The plan of action for creating a world fit for children reaffirms the commitment to improve nutrition for every child. Providing all children with a safe, healthy start in life will halt the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition and poor health. The World Fit for Children declaration outlines these two goals: reducing malnutrition among children under age five by at least a third (with special attention to children under age two) and reducing the rate of low birth weight by at least a third by 2010. The plan of action sets other goals that will contribute indirectly to improved nutrition: developing and implementing early childhood policies and programs, and reducing infant and child mortality by one-third (World Bank 2003, p. 3).
The World Fit for Children declaration outlines strategies and actions for achieving these goals:
Protecting, promoting, and supporting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.
Promoting continued breastfeeding with complementary feeding up to two years of age and beyond; providing informed choices on infant feeding.
Improving the nutrition of mothers, young children, and adolescents through improved household food security, access to basic social services, and better caring practices.
Eliminating iodine deficiency disorders by 2005 and vitamin A deficiencies by 2010; reducing by a third the prevalence of anemia, including iron deficiency, by 2010.
Accelerating the reduction of micronutrient deficiencies through dietary diversification and food fortification and supplementation.
With the World Fit for Children declaration, Kids Eat Smart Foundation should keep in mind that improving kid’s nutrition requires an all-out and concerted effort. More than just providing food to children, they should go beyond and work out concentrate at the other aspects of offering a successful nutrition program. For example, dietetics professionals are the health-care practitioners most qualified to administer these nutrition programs that help ensure that all children and adolescents obtain safe, nutritious, and adequate food intakes for optimal nutrition and health. This is why Stang and Bayerl (July 2003) emphasized the participation of dietetics professionals in nutrition programs like what the Kids Eat Smart is undertaking. These diet professionals are preeminently qualified to provide nutrition screening and assessment, education, and counseling for children and adolescents, in accordance with national health recommendations, as well as to monitor food and nutrition program compliance with local, state, and national regulations. To be successful in this role, there are a variety of responsibilities that need to be carried out by dietetics professionals. These include the following:
advocating for continued and adequate funding of food assistance and nutrition education programs at local, state, and federal levels. Such funding should provide food assistance, meal service, and nutrition screening and education to all children and adolescents, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or linguistic or cognitive proficiency. Funding should also be provided for systematic evaluation of food and nutrition programs.
facilitating the application of evidence-based child and adolescent nutrition research to the development, provision, and evaluation of food and nutrition programs;
serving as a resource to health and education disciplines, agencies, and organizations that provide nutrition-related services to children and adolescents through the provision of technical assistance and training;
participating in and advocating for adequate and continued funding for nutrition surveillance efforts to document the need for publicly funded food and nutrition programs for children, adolescents, and their families
advocating for healthy child-care and school environments that include comprehensive nutrition education coupled with the provision of meals, beverages, and snacks that meet national dietary guidance;
working with school administrators, teachers, parents, and communities to ensure that all foods and beverages served in child-care and educational settings contribute to the overall quality of a child’s or adolescent’s diet;
supporting the development of universal health-care reimbursement for comprehensive nutrition services, including screening and assessment, education and counseling, and developmentally appropriate anticipatory guidance;
developing advocacy, program planning, evaluation, and media skills through education, including continuing professional education, that enhance the ability to support and administer food and nutrition programs; and
advocate for adequate and sustained support for a strong infrastructure for nutrition education delivery in school, health-care, and child-care facilities.
Aside from working with dietetics professionals and bearing in mind the World Fit for Children programs, Kids Eat Smart Foundation (KES) should consider interscholastic sports programs, intramural activities, and physical activity clubs also keep children active in school. Intramural sports and clubs offer students with a wide range of abilities opportunities to engage in physical activity. But only 49 percent of schools offer intramural sports and sports clubs, and only 22 percent provide transportation home for students who participate in interscholastic sports, a problem for lower-income students who may need transportation. (Burgeson et al., 2001) To help prevent obesity or bad nutrition, the U.S. Institute of Medicine calls for partnerships between schools and public and private sectors to enhance funding and opportunities for intramural sports and other activities in school and after-school programs (Symons et al., 1997)
Another viable alternative is that KES to promote health education, which is an essential part of a coordinated school health program. By highlighting the importance of both nutrition and physical activity, health education can help students adopt and maintain physically active and healthful-eating lifestyles. Key elements of health education include a planned and sequential educational program for students in grades K-12; behavioral skills development; instructional time at each grade level; instruction from qualified teachers; involvement of parents, health professionals, and other community members; and periodic curriculum evaluation and updating (Kann et al., 2001) In fact, Koplan et. al. (2005) revealed that research supported the effectiveness of behavioral-oriented curriculums in promoting healthful food choices and physical activity. To maximize classroom time, nutrition and physical activity instruction could also be integrated into the lesson plans of other school subjects, such as math, biology, and the language arts.
Moreover, KES can also ask the local government to support their activities. For example, the U.S. Congress has recently allowed after-school programs in seven states–Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania–to serve suppers as well as snacks to children in areas where more than 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals (Fox et al., 2004) Some low-income children may thus eat three meals and a snack every weekday during the school year from federal food programs–a fact that highlights both the growing importance of the federal child nutrition programs for children in low-income families and the need to ensure that the foods these programs serve are consistent with the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. KES can push forward similar approach in Labrador and Newfoundland. This is because KES admitted of financial difficulties and declining number of volunteers. It is undeniable that for any nutrition program to be sustainable, government and community support is very vital. Also, the education of the whole community about the benefits of the KES program could elevate the awareness of people to participate in their activities. School administrators should also be exhorted to support healthy school environments and to work with the community, including parents, to promote optimal nutrition environments and eating habits. Thus, Kids Eat Smart programs should gather all the help it can get to help children and adolescents alike to attain full educational potential and good health by providing them with the skills, social support, and environmental reinforcement they need to adopt long-term, healthy eating behaviors. Trying out some successful strategies will most likely be effective in promoting healthy eating among school-age youths and provide their communities with nutrition education guidelines that is sustainable and specific, which a greater leap than just supplying each school with equal time and nutritious meals for the students.
Burgeson, C.R. et al. (2001). Physical Education and Activity: Results from the School Health Policies and Programs Study 2000, Journal of School Health, 71(7): 279-93.
Fox, M.K., Hamilton, W. and Lin, B.H. (2004). Effects of Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs on Health and Nutrition, vol. 3: Literature Review, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report no. 19-3. Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Kann, L., Brener, N.D. and Allensworth, D.D. (2001). Health Education: Results from the School Health Policies and Programs Study 2000, Journal of School Health, 71(7): 266-78.
Koplan, J.P., Liverman, C.T. and Kraak, V.I. (eds.). (2005). Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, Washington: National Academies Press.
Stang, J. and Cynthia Taft Bayerl, C.T.. (2003, July). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Child and Adolescent Food and Nutrition Programs. (ADA Reports). Journal of the American Dietetic Association 103(7): 887-894.
Symons, C.W. et al. (1997). Bridging Student Health Risks and Academic Achievement through Comprehensive School Health Programs, Journal of School Health, 67(6).
World Bank. (2003). Combating Malnutrition: Time to Act. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications.