Unhealthy eating habits due to poor choices, low-income opportunities and inadequate access to nutrient-dense foods result in a poor health and low academic performance. Inadequate nutrition is reflected in low protein intake, iron deficiency, and ability to fight diseases. Students with poor protein intake have low scores on achievement tests, iron deficient students suffer from shortened attention span, and difficulty in concentration, fatigue and irritability. Moreover, children who skip meals, especially breakfast, lack problem solving skills, and have insufficient body capabilities to fight infection illness. Consequently, inadequate nutrition leads to academic failure and may result in students dropping out of school which severely affects education and future chances to succeed in life.
As childhood is a time of critical growth and brain development, proper nutrition is absolutely essential and necessary. For that reason, a lack of food or inadequate eating patterns are significantly responsible for short and long-term health diseases. Children affected with prolonged nutritional deficiency are at greater risk of obesity, failure to thrive academically, and mental and emotional health problems. Consequently, children with poor nutrition are more prone to miss school and repeat grades since there is a connection between improper nutrition and low IQ levels. As a result, malnutrition may inhibit the ability to develop social skills that are necessary to maintaining friendships. Maintaining healthy friendships may positively affect the lives and children well into adulthood.
Creating an adequate nutrition plan in low income public schools to directly impact students’ eating habits, combined with an educational program for students’ parents will allow us to effectively attack academic challenges associated with poor nutrition. Additionally, efforts to educating children and their parents about adequate eating patterns will allow us to reduce the risk of developing health problems and disproportionately gain weight. This in turn will positively affect the development of low-income communities and will increase understanding of the importance of nutrition in a child’s life.