Program Facts Through fun, interactive nutrition education children can be encouraged to:
- Eat a variety of foods
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Eat lower fat foods more often
- Eat more calcium-rich foods
- Be more physically active
- Obesity Rates are Rising - the percentage of school-age children 6 - 11 that are overweight more than doubled between the late 1970's and 2000, rising from 6.5% to 15.3%. The percentage of overweight adolescents ages 12 - 19 tripled form 5.0% to 15.5% during the same period. 1
- Academic Consequences of Poor Nutrition
- Perhaps the most important consequence of poor nutrition is the impact on learning. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that children who eat poorly do not perform as well as they could academically. Well nourished students tend to be better students, while poorly nourished children tend to have weaker academic performance and score lower on standardized achievement tests.
- Numerous studies have found that increased participation in the School Breakfast Program is associated with increases academic test scores, daily attendance, and class participation. 2 Both parents and teachers report that students participating in these breakfast programs are calmer in class and have more energy for studying.
- Health Consequences of Childhood Obesity
- Asthma - In a recent study of children with asthma, obese children and adolescents used more medicine, wheezed more, and a greater proportion of these children made unscheduled visits to emergency rooms than non-obese peers. 3
- Type 2 Diabetes - Studies in the US link obesity in children and adolescents to an increase in Type 2 diabetes that can cause blindness, heart and kidney disease and loss of limbs. 4
- Mental Health - Obesity has been associated with low self-esteem in some adolescents. Obese children with decreased levels of self-esteem reported increased rates of loneliness, sadness, and nervousness, and were more likely to report smoking and consuming alcohol. 5
- Sleep Apnea - A study of obese children found that one-third of these children reported symptoms consistent with those of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, a breathing disorder causing brief interruptions of breathing during sleep, is associated with decreased learning and memory function. 6
- High Blood Pressure - significantly elevated blood pressure, which is associated with coronary artery disease, has been found more commonly in obese children and adolescents compared to their non-obese peers. 7
1. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2002 with chart book on trends in the health of Americans. Table 71.
2. Powell CA, et al. Nutrition and Education: A Randomized Trial of the Effects of rural Primary School children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68(4):873-79
3. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2002 with chart book on trends in the health of Americans. Table 71.
4. Sinha R, Fisch G, Teague B, et al. Prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance among children and adolescence.
5. Strauss RS. Childhood obesity and self-esteem. Pediatr. 2000;105(1):1-5.
6. Mallory GB, Fiser DH, Jackson R. Sleep-associated breathing disorders in morbidly obese children and adolescents. J Pediatr.
7. Dietz WH. Health consequences of obesity in youth: childhood predictors of adult disease. Supp Pediatr. 1998; 101(3):518-525.
For More Information:
Call or write to the Delaware Department of Education, School and Community Nutrition Programs, 401 Federal Street, Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901; 302-735-4060.