Historical, social, economic, and political instigators for this policy
According to GAO’s research findings, there school canteens had been serving the school children with unhealthy foods. The research established that 99% high schools, 97% middle schools and 83% elementary schools were equipped with vending machines that helped in the distribution of junk food. The vending machines mainly supplied soft and sport drinks, salty snacks, high fat baked goods and salty snacks. It was further observed that the presence of these vending machines and other food outlets undermined the government inanities. The federal government has an annual budget of up to 8.5 billion dollars dedicated for the school feeding program. The program only bore some notable results in the period of 1992-1998 (Dobson & Knightly, 2010).
Obesity is a top killer disease in America. In itself, it may not be fatal but it comes with so many other related conditions that are very fatal. This would include hypertension, diabetes, some forms of cancer and even heart attacks (Oliver, 2006). The junk that was being served in the schools was one of the main causes of obesity. Government was concerned and so were parents and this was what fueled the need for reforming of policy. Prior to the establishment of the act, it was realized that the restrictions that were present on the schools as far as selling of Junk was concerned were very minimal and the legislation guiding it had not been amended for over thirty years although the situations had significantly changed by then . One of the main loopholes is that while the law prohibited the sale of certain foods on campus, it did not prohibit selling of the same food stuffs just outside the gate of the school.
Who supported the policy?
The policy enjoyed support from a wide range of organizations. Many of the people were attached personally to the bill since many citizens were parents who were concerned for the health of their kids. The U.S congress not only initiated the bill but helped a great deal in the adoption and implementation of the bill. One of the organizations that were very instrumental in the adoption of the bill was govtrack.
Which party democrats or republican supported this policy?
The child Nutrition promotion and school Lunch protection enjoyed support across the political divide although the democrats were the most vocal about the adoption and the speedy implementation of the bill. The democrats went as far as arguing that the bill will in fact result in economic growth if adopted.
The federal government has an annual budget of up to 8.5 billion dollars dedicated for the school feeding program. The policy is desirable as it is a reflection of the best feeding habits for the school going children. It will help in fostering good health not only in the short term but also in the long term. The availability of healthy foods and drinks at the schools is important as it will instill some lifelong lessons about good eating habits in the children (Martin & Oakley, 2007).
This goal will be realize with the partnership of the school food professionals with the parents, the teachers and the community as a whole. In the light of the state-nation conflict, it is imperative that the federal government preempts the estate government in case of future arising conflict. National nutrient standards will reflect what is best for children's present and future health (Michelle, & Fried, 2009).
The US institute of Medicine (2007) observed that the child Nutrition Promotion and school Lunch protection act was geared at improving not only the nutrition but also the long term health of the students. The policy was also implemented with the goal of providing enough food for the children. This was especially necessary due to the different home backgrounds of the children. From a psychological point of view, the feeding program would help the children to eat together which would go along way in helping them develop life skills as they socialize.
Although this and many other advantages have bee realized by the bill, it has also led to some undesirable results. Some people now warn that the program is having a negative toll on the learning process. A lot of resource in monetary as well as time value is being spent on the program. This would otherwise be diverted to the education of the children. The program’s success is also dependant on the family habits of the individual children. The feeding program may serve food that is healthy while a certain child gets exposed to unhealthy food in his/her home.
The success of the program is not dependant on the school administration or on the e federal government. The society is the wheels that will drive the needed reform. It would be retrogressive if the society remains permissible to the unhealthy foodstuffs while the government tries to serve the children healthy food. Parents are encouraged to model to their children the importance of healthy foods by serving healthy food at their dining tables.
There also needs to be a clear-cut clarification of the preemption of the legislation. In the event that the state makes a legislation that contravenes the federal policy, then the state law should be preempted by the federal law. This will help in dealing with any future conflicts in legislation that could arise. Finally, the program is to be commended as it gives many of the school children an equal chance to learn comfortably irrespective of their background. It creates a sense of being similar to the other kids which goes a long way in boosting the self esteem of the different children. The policy should remain that way as it also ensures the health of the children.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools (2007). Nutrition standards for foods in schools: leading the way toward healthier youth. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Dobson, A. & Knightly, M. (2010). Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. Retrieved 15th November, 2010 from http://harkin.senate.gov/documents/pdf/schoolfood.pdf
Oliver, E. (2006). Fat Politics: the real story behind America's obesity epidemic. London: Oxford university press
Martin, J. & Oakley, C. (2007). Managing child nutrition programs: leadership for excellence (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Michelle, S. & Fried, E. (2009) State Laws on School Vending: The Need for a Public Health Approach