After School Nutrition Programs

Congress improved the federal child nutrition programs. That made it easier for programs serving children after school. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) reimburses afterschool programs for the snacks they serve to children 18 and under. The school food service department administers the snack service for the afterschool program. To qualify for NSLP, afterschool programs must be school sponsored.

The National School Lunch Program offers cash reimbursement to help schools serve snacks to children in afterschool activities aimed at promoting the health and well being of children and youth in our communities. Fot more info: http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/afterschool-snacks.

The Food and Nutrition Service administers several programs that provide healthy food to children including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the Special Milk Program. More info at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/child-nutrition-programs

Any teaching on nutritional foods could be a great afterschool activity. Under this chapetr you will find some information what can be used to start an after school nutrition activity and reasons why this should be considered.

Adult and childhood obesity

Adult and childhood obesity has grown drastically over the last few decades. It is being blames on a more sedentary lifestyle especially in the urban areas. Every aspect of life has been affected by the recent changes, such as use of a car instead of walking, use of the media or internet instead of an active social participation for all adults, and time spent in front of television or computer for children instead of being outside and indulging in sports or games.

Both these age groups have also shown a remarkable growth in consumption of packaged foods or higher calorie count meals instead of a simpler and healthier choice of vegetables, meat and fruits.

The aggressive growth of junk foods like chips/crisps, ice-creams, sodas or cold drinks, or food chains like MacDonald, KFC, etc. has given rise to unhealthy food habits. Consumption of alcohol has also risen which many consider to be nothing but empty calories.

Obesity is now not just linked to adults but also children, even infants.

Children Obesity

As far as children are concerned, the situation is even worse. The Center For Disease Control reports that in the year 2012, overweight or obesity extended to over 1/3 of the population of children. In fact, where obesity among adults has just doubled in adults since 1980, it has quadrupled in adolescents and also more than doubled in children in the past 30 years.

31.8% of adolescents and children are either overweight or obese and of that 31.8%, 16.9% are obese.

And, ¼ of 2 to 5 year old children and 1/3 of school age children are either overweight or obese in the United States.

The Center for Disease Control reports that 30.4% of low-income home preschool age children are either overweight or obese, this is primarily attributed to the fact that unhealthy convenience foods tend to be cheaper than healthy ones.

From 1980 till 2012, the number of obese children in the US between the ages of 6-11 increased from 7% to 18%. Amongst adolescents between the age group of 12-19 years, the percentage increased from 5% to 21%.

Most shockingly, studies have shown that in the year 2011, over 40 million children under the age of five were overweight.

Impact on Children’s Health

It is reported that nearly 3,700 children and adolescents under the age of 20 are diagnosed with preventable Type 2 diabetes as a result of obesity each and every year.  By 2050, the number of teen diabetics will increase by nearly 50% to more than 84,000. 45% of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes also had hypertension, 3% developed kidney disease and 9% died from their condition within nine years of initial diagnosis.

There are other conditions related to obesity that affect kids, including, heart disease, high blood pressure asthma and sleep apnea..

Cure

However, the good news is that obesity is curable. Unlike many other risk factors in human health, obesity can be checked by following a proper diet and exercise. As a last resort, even surgery could be employed for dealing with obesity. Yet, the best way forward is to lead a more active and healthy life from a young age and continue it in adulthood.

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