Monday, July 22, 2019

The National School Lunch Program Essay Example for Free

The National School Lunch Program Essay The National School Lunch Program is a meal and nutritional program funded by the United States government, for the benefit of children in school all over the country. The program provides balanced and nutritious foods prepared and sold for reasonable amount money or given free to children in public and private schools, and other institutions of childcare. The eligibility of children that are included in the program is dependent on the average income of the household and capacity to sustain the dietary and nutritional needs of their children. The program is managed both in the federal and state level of the country, where the federal level is handled by the staff of the Food and Nutrition Service, and on the other hand, the state level is handled by the educational agencies and organizations of the state. The preparation of food and its contents are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It must also provide minerals and vitamins guided by the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). In addition to this, the staff of educational institutions is also trained to prepare for high-quality balanced and nutritional meals for the children. The U. S Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports the program by giving out cash subsidies and donations of supplies and merchandises to participating educational institutions, as long as they follow the guidelines for the balanced and nutritional needs of children. (USDA, 2007a) The USDA usually gives cash subsidies to educational institutions for the program and spends the following amount of money for each meal: $3. 15 for a free lunch and snack, $2. 41 for reduced prices of a lunch and snack, and $0. 9 for a paid lunch and snack. (USDA, 2007a) The amount of reimbursements given to each educational institution varies every year based on the changes and adjustments guided by the increase or decrease rates of the Consumer Price Index provided by the Bureau Labor of Statistics. (USDA, 2007b) Aside from the cash reimbursements, educational institutions also receive goods and food merchandises amounting to 16. 75 cents per meal. In 2006 alone, the total sum of money spent for the program amounted to $8. 2 billion. (USDA, 2007a) The National Lunch Program harbors effects to the well-being of children and the behavior and attitude of the family towards it. A recent study revealed that there is little or no effect generated from the implementation of the program such that children do not actually need to follow the program because they are already receiving balanced and nutritional meals outside the premises of the educational institution. In addition to this, the family members might not be motivated to prepare additional meals for their children because they know the educational institution is providing this for them. The program serves as a replacement for the food they are preparing for the children, and because of this, the family members will not look for other alternatives to suffice for the nutritional needs of their children. (Dunifon Kowaleski-Jones, 2004) According to the program assessment conducted by the U. S. Government, the program was rated as â€Å"moderately effective. † Owing to the fact that the program was able to reduce the calorie and fat content of food prepared in educational institutions for children by five percent. In addition to this, the target population of children to whom the budget of the program, has also increased. This means that more children have been provided balanced and nutritional meals from the program despite the set target number of children. Moreover, the government has also plans of improving the program by implementing a method of monitoring and updating the nutritional content of the foods prepared. Aside from this, the issue about equity in terms of financial matters will also be addressed, as the government is working to provide an accurate and dependable estimate of payments or expenses starting this year. (ExpectMore, 2007)

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