The Problem of Lack of Vegetable Growers in Schools

Schools have little vegetables and fruit selection for the students to choose from. I believe that this is an issue because there is a wide selection of other foods except fruits and vegetables. As a student at Madera South High School I see this is a recurring problem that most all students have to face. Increasing the number of healthy options available will make it more likely students will be able to find something nutritious they like to eat. Asking students which of a number of healthier choices they would be willing to eat can help limit waste and get students eating healthier without complaining about the unhealthy items no longer available on the school lunch menu.

A school in San Francisco, CA, conducted a survey to determine which healthier foods students would like to see on the menu and used this information to implement school lunch menu changes. As a result, lunch sales stayed about the same after the less healthy foods were removed from the menu.

The school has changed the lunches so much in the passed years, but they haven’t changed the none of the fruits and vegetables. Children and teens ages 12 to 19 should eat 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit and 2 to 4 cups of vegetables a day. As you might suspect, most kids don’t eat enough produce. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that while children have increased their overall fruit intake since 2003, most 6 in 10 are still not eating enough fruit.

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What’s worse, 9 in 10 kids don’t meet the recommendations for vegetable consumption. Vegetables and fruits are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy and, they can also help protect against some diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children with obesity has tripled since the 1970’s; stating that approximately one in five school aged children between 6 and 19 are defined as obese. Several recent studies have confirmed that by changing menus and food offerings, schools have a powerful influence on a students’ eating behavior and can create a culture of healthful culinary practices. Furthermore, since school cafeterias serve an estimated 95% of children and adolescents nationwide it is regarded as an optimal setting for improving a child’s health. Higher fruit and vegetable consumption has been linked to not only weight management, but improved the child’s overall development and academic scores. Recent studies have concluded that exposure to vegetables is a critical component to increasing its consumption among children.

However, how to encourage children to eat more vegetables as part of their school lunch meal is a continuing challenge in many schools.Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables helps to reduce childhood obesity and improves academic achievement and attendance. However, providing fresh fruits and vegetables is challenging for some schools due to cost, administrative burden, and concern for food waste, but if they had more of a wider selection the students would have the opportunity to choose what fruits and vegetables they want to. Between 56 and 75 percent of children eat school lunches instead of bringing their lunch from home, including up to 89 percent of children from low-income homes, according to the American Dietetic Association Foundation’s 2010 Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. While adding a variety of unhealthy options isn’t beneficial, increasing the number of healthy foods for children to choose from can be.

Students would prefer a wider selection to get the privilege to choose what they want to eat. A recent study that I conducted at Madera South High School, 90% of students said they would like to have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables . Researchers have collected plate waste data among 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. Following the implementation of the new standards, fruit selection increased by 23.0%; average per person fruit consumption was unchanged, but because more students selected fruit, overall, more fruit was consumed post implementation. In addition, consumption of vegetables per student increased by 16.2%. Entrée selection per student remained unchanged. Your child is at school for an average of 40 hours per week with 1 hour of physical education. Whatever damage school lunches do, the schools aren’t making up for it via exercise. Physical education is encouraged, but not followed through.

For example, only 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle schools and 2.1% of high schools provided daily physical education for all students. Students who eat school lunch are more likely to consume more fruits, vegetables and milk than those who don’t participate. School lunches provide up to 30 percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed by students, according to a study published in ‘The Journal of School Health’ in October 2010. Offering a wider variety of fruits and vegetables makes it more likely students will find an option they are willing to eat. Offering more healthy options at lunch and getting rid of the less nutritious options can lead to improved behavior during the rest of the school day.

A school in Montana that increased the amount of healthy choices during school lunch, while getting rid of competing unhealthy options, found that the number of behavioral problems decreased and students were more attentive after lunch, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shouldn’t students have the opportunity to choose what they want to eat. If they had a wide variety of fruits and vegetable selection they would choose what they want to eat and what taste good to them every student isn’t the same they all like different type of fruits and vegetables, giving them the chance to choose what healthy food they want would help a lot more students to eat healthy. Would you eat something you didn’t like or if you had the option to choose what you wanted to eat what would you do ?

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The Problem of Lack of Vegetable Growers in Schools. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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