Back-to-School Nutrition

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Date of Original Version



Back-to-school season can be an important time for enhancing dietary quality, which is vital to chil- dren's health and wellness. An abun- dance of scientific literature supports a critical role of proper nutrition in cognitive development, intellectual performance, and academic achieve- ment. Improvement of nutrient intakes for children with inadequa- cies enhances mental functioning. Iron deficiency, which is the most common nutrient deficiency in the United States, has been implicated in poor cognition, and supplementation for iron-deficient children improves most scholastically related outcomes. School breakfast and lunch pro- grams, which must adhere to the 2005 US Dietary Guidelines, offer a means to improve nutritional intake, particularly for children of low socio- economic status. However, competing food and beverage sources, as well as refusal to consume healthful items of these meals, may reduce dietary advantages. Breakfast consumption is associated with many benefits in schoolchildren, including academic performance. Wholesome lunches and snacks can also be significant contributors to nutritional value over the course of a school day. Parents, teachers, and caregivers should be role models and advocates for health- promoting eating behaviors not only throughout the academic year but for a lifetime. © 2008, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine