Nutrition Is Important at School for Academic Progress (by Guest Blogger Melania Escobar)

Read more about the author here. This post is based on the community work and writing that the author has been doing in WR 122 at Portland Community College.  The piece of public writing is loosely based on a research question and research collection the author developed.  The public writing is a chance to use one’s writing to become part of the larger community dialogue about issues in the chosen theme.


MelaniaBlogPicture2The Public Writing: A Letter to the PPS District

Dear members of Portland School district and parents of public school:

As a mother of three children and having my daughter Marielis Siquina at a Beaverton School I am a concerned parent about the nutrition that is among children in our schools and also at their home. How this affects the academic progress in our children at school?

I have done a research in which shows that children who do not have good nutrition have problems concentrating and focusing at school. Many important factors that I would like to mention is how breakfast has earned the title as the most important meal of the day, yet it is the meal most often missed by children, The amount of nutrients  like iron, multi-vitamin need it to keep children healthy in our school is sometimes not explore. The free breakfast, lunch program at school exists to make sure low income kids are not deprived of good nutrition that is needed to grow in a healthy way and to help them perform at school but I notice when I was volunteering at a Beaverton School children do not have enough time to eat their breakfast or lunch and there for they are not getting the nutrients need it at school to perform in a good way. Obesity is another factor that affects behavior and learning of many children as studies have shown that these children have a lot of problems learning and graduating from high school. Poor nutrition early in life can impair neural development, leading to lower IQ in children at school. Obesity and various non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, non-insulin-dependent diabetes and some cancers may be linked to changing dietary patterns and lifestyles. Let’s help our children in any way we can.

How can we help each child? I would like bring the following ideas to help the children.

Improve the nutrition of the school meals by adding more vegetables and fruits for breakfast or  lunch and informing the parents with nutrition guide sent home by the school as well as cutting bad snacks with little or non-nutrients such fried potatoes chips, candy, cookies, colas and others. How food taste is what determine if children would like to eat it or not so finding recipes that children like it is very important to keep them healthy. Lastly, when you have good meal for the children at school it is important for them to have enough time to eat it as I was volunteering at a Beaverton, Portland School I noticed that children do not have enough time to eat their food, food that end up in the garbage can instead. Maybe there is a way to avoid this by spending more time in the cafeteria and not rushing them to eat in ten minutes.

Although this are just some ideas of how we can help children to have better nutrition and academic progress at school my intention is only to help out by giving my humble ideas and to offer myself as a volunteer if you need help with any of my subjection let me know. I am glad to help in any way I can.

Sincerely,

Melania Escobar

The Research Question & Collection

Introduction:

MelaniaBlogPicture1Families sometimes must choose between paying bills, or buying food. What is it to go to bed hungry for many of our children in the U.S.?  Many citizens of the United States who work to provide for their families are barely making enough money to pay rent, and electric bills. When they go to the grocery stores they have little money to buy groceries which are getting very expensive nowadays. Research has shown that nutrition is important for the development and performance of children at school. A hungry child can’t focus in writing, reading and math classes. Many children skip breakfast and this affect problem solving tasks. Children who eat healthy breakfast usually go to school learn more. How can our parents and schools make sure our children eat a well-balanced breakfast meal in order to perform better at school?

Nutrition, school and our children, it is important to remember that kids only eat what appeals to their eyes. Like in Mexico, children like to eat hot spicy food and in Japan, children love to eat uncooked fish. In the United States, children are no different. For children to have the nutrition they need, they have to love the food they eat. Once they do, familiarity becomes a powerful reinforcing agent. We like what we know. This helps them focus in math, learn to write and ultimately helps them control obesity.

Good nutrition starts with having a good balanced breakfast because our metabolism needs to start early in the morning. Like in my country El Salvador we ate a lot of fruit for breakfast such as papaya, mango, fresh squeezed orange juice and oatmeal with yogurt. Although I love dunking doughnuts and coffee or a breakfast Mc Muffin we have to make good choices for our children.

If nutrition is so important to keep our body, soul and mind healthy, we need to find ways to inform the parents and motivate public school to give awesome, healthy meals that the children would like to eat. By promoting this healthy nutrition we can insure children in the United State can be as successful as they can be.

Problem solving in math can be complicated. My daughter, who is eight years old, is in the second grade at McKinley Elementary. This is the problem in math that she was given as home work this week. “Maria finds 1 penny under her pillow when she wakes up on Monday morning. On Tuesday, she finds 2 pennies. On Wednesday, she finds 4 pennies. So, on Wednesday, she has a total of 7 cents. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Maria finds double the amount of money she found under her pillow the day before. How much money does Maria have on Sunday?”  Image my daughter being hungry and trying to answer this question. First she has to read it than she has to analyze it and finally she has to answer it all with an empty stomach and a hunger headache also. No, we do not want our nation to have hungry children that can’t concentrate in the classrooms.

Obesity in children is a big concern in our schools because many of these children have low self-esteem and are less productive in learning to read, and write. All this makes them have lower grades and this means they are less likely to go to college later on in life. So, we need to be informed, and we need to help our children with good nutrition. But most importantly, we need to know that if we want our children to be successful at school we need to know the importance of nutrition which affects the progress of our students and ultimately our nation.

Research Collection & Annotations

Child Nutrition Outreach Program.” Child Nutrition Outreach Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013. Website.  This article talks on the importance of eating breakfast for children. Many of our children do not make the time to eat a good breakfast and it is important not to be hungry at school because kids do not have the energy needed to study and learn.

“What Is the Importance of Good Nutrition For Kids?” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013. Websitehttp://www.livestrong.com/article/45375-importance-good-nutrition-kids/.  This article talks about how important and essential nutrition is during childhood so that a child grows to obtain a healthy height and weight, can concentrate in school and does not have any nutritional deficiencies. In my research I would like to talk about the importance of good nutrition in order for children to concentrate and solve math problems and basic self-development at school.

“Does Obesity Affect School Performance?” Schools of Thought RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.Websitehttp://abcnews.go.com/Health/childhood-obesity-affects-math-performance/story?id=16559097

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/14/health/obesity-affect-school-performance/.  This article was interesting because it gave statistic on how obesity affects the performance of children to the point of having low score grades, are they more likely to be held back a grade and are less likely to go to college. This goes directly with my research on how important nutrition is for the children’s academic performance and as we see in their whole life.

“Link between Nutrition and Academic Performance”  Suite101.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013. Website

academic performance.http://suite101.com/article/link-between-nutrition-and-academic-performance-a278743

This article talks about research that has shown that nutrition is important for cognitive and brain development; therefore, making healthy food choices becomes vital to students’ academic performance. Nutrients provide the energy needed to complete simple and complex tasks. Even a moderate lack of nutrient can have lasting effects on children’s lasting effects on children’s cognitive development and school performance, hunger have bad effects on academic performance in children a school.

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2 comments

  1. Kimberly Kosydar

    Hola Melania!
    Your letter to the Portland School District is amazing! It gives great information and also comes from a good place because you are a concerned parent. It is nice that you talk about the issues in schools and then try to give some solutions.
    I love your pictures too!!! You have such a beautiful family! Love and miss you!
    Kimberly Kosydar

  2. Shawna Friend

    Hi Melania,
    This is a great letter to the public school. You bring up some great points. I hope your letter is the start of some great changes! I volunteered at my daughter’s school and noticed the same issues at her school. We live in Vancouver, WA. So not only is it a different district, but a completely different state; which tells me this is a problem everywhere! What I also noticed was not only did they not give nearly enough time to eat, but the food they served is not something most children would eat. The meal I remember most was a salami sandwich. The sandwich was dry, they didn’t offer any condiments. The meal also included beans that were in a hot type of sauce/juice; I didn’t even like them, hash browns and a cookie. What I observed during the meal was all the kids eat the cookie first; most kids who actually eat the sandwich picked off the meat and left the bread, nobody at our table eat the beans, the hash browns were hit and miss. All in all most of the food ended up in the garbage and the kids really had nothing to eat but a cookie. I understand not every kid is going to be pleased with a meal, but we can try to be more kid friendly with the meals. I hope your writing makes a difference, good job!
    Shawna

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