Created to provide a high-quality breakfast to children in California charter schools, Better 4 You Meals now serves the nutritional needs of students with school-based breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Better 4 You Meals provides students with nutritious foods that support healthy growth.
When a child does not receive adequate nutrition, they may fail to develop both physically and intellectually. Research has shown that children who are undernourished have a reduced mental capacity, which hinders their ability to perform in school. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2010, showed that children who are undernourished in early childhood have a 16 percent greater chance of failing at least one grade in school.
Nutritional deficiencies may correlate even more strongly with behavioral challenges, particularly in areas related to social interactions. A study led by psychologists from Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health, demonstrated that children with poor nutrition in their early years showed higher levels of withdrawal and lower levels of pro-social behaviors than their peers.
Furthermore, a child with limited access to nutritional food may be more likely to develop anxiety, hyperactivity disorders, or other psychological challenges. Some studies have also linked a lack of a regular eating schedule with depression.
A poor diet may also increase a child’s risk of both short-term and long-term medical problems. Nutritional deficiency stands out as one of the most common causes of childhood obesity, largely because low-income families often have limited access to nutritious food choices. This can translate to a diet high in fat, which can ultimately lead to serious health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
A food vendor serving schools in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, Better 4 You Meals operates under the guidance of top charter school leaders and organizations. Better 4 You Meals aims to provide students with everything they need nutritionally to succeed in their studies.
A 2014 review conducted by Wilder Research, which interprets facts to create actionable outcomes for families and communities, examined several studies to determine the effects of poor nutrition on students.
It found that nutritional deficiencies in B vitamins, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids all contribute to the slowdown of children’s cognitive development, noting that diets that contain large amounts of saturated and trans fats also create a negative impact in this area.
Further, the review examined the links between student behavior and nutrition, noting that those with access to good nutrition were less likely to act aggressively and more likely to enjoy positive self-images than those who didn’t eat well.
Beyond this, the document also looked at the indirect effects of poor nutrition, noting that unhealthy lifestyles contribute to higher rates of student absence, in addition to leaving students feeling devoid of energy and unable to concentrate.
To counter such issues, schools must focus on providing meals that fulfill the nutritional requirements of their children, in addition to focusing on educational programming relating to nutrition.