Family Life Education (FLE) is considered as family science which is centered as translational with action (Darling, Cassidy, & Rehm, 2017). This is because it would reflect growing focus to diverse FLE practice settings with translational research evidence. Notably, FLE come into practice with help of public policy in 1887 under the Act of Hatch of the United States (Hamon & Smith, 2017). It has formed and supported national networks regarding Universities of Land Grant, Agricultural stations, Cooperative Service of Extension. Later in that time, the subject Home Economics was further recognized and renamed as FLE. The essay writer National Council regarding Family Relations (NCFR) has initiated approval of FLE by providing certification as CFLE (Centered Family of Life Educator)in 1996 (DuPree, Whiting, & Harris, 2016). In this paper, value of nutrition education programsas an integral part of Family Life Education will be discussed.
Nutrition education involves the process of teaching the science of nutrition to an individual or group with the goal of facilitating the voluntary adoption of nutrition linked behaviours as well as food choices. Health professionals play different roles in educating an individual in the community, clinic, or long-term medical-care facility. In these settings, the nutritionist, dietitian, or nurse serves to assist individuals to incorporate changes in eating behavior and patter into their lives. The major focus of this type of nutrition is not facts and knowledge, but rather the development of permanent behavioral changes
The Nutrition Education Program (NEP) helps families make healthier food choices and choose physically active lifestyles by acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior changes necessary to improve their health. Notably, NEPs inform the formulation of polices as well as systems and environmental strategies that impact communities. These strategies include school wellness, school and community gardens, healthy food pantries, and child care center wellness. Together with community partnerships, NEPs strives to improve the health of humans.
The settings approach has become a common consideration in health promotion. This approach recognizes that there is a valuable opportunity to influence health through policy measures and education within specific settings, including schools, hospitals, and places of work. Notably, schools provide the most effective way to reach a large segment of the population, including young people, school staff, families and community members. Usually, school-based nutrition education address the needs and interests of students, the teachers and other support staff in general (Sabatelli, 2017). Also, it takes into account what children already know and what can be done to enhance wellbeing in a manner that is culturally appropriate. According to Ma and Schapira (2017), this approach to knowledge acquisition must be delivered in a manner that is easy for children to comprehend. Notably, a deeper understanding will result in improved or strengthened healthy eating habits.
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Program evaluation is a critical undertaking in accessing the success of a project under consideration. Usually, this process is done through a careful scrutiny of certain aspects that are considered as the program deliverables. In this case, various parameters can be adopted with the goal of tracking the outcomes of the NEPs. Some of the parameters, which can be considered include lunchroom component in the learning facilities, the level of knowledge masterly among the public as far as nutrition is concerned, and the prevalence of nutrition related illnesses such of obesity.
Tracking the lunchroom component in the learning facilities can shed more light on the success of the NEP. Under this component, some of the parameters that can be observed include the consumption of fruits and vegetables and the general calorie values of the food being consumed by the students, teachers, and other supportive support. This tracking approach has been adopted in various instances. For example, the Children’s Charity Foundation (Canada) in collaboration with We Schools Organization conducted a survey in 2017 with the objective of gaining a deeper insight pertaining to the success of NEP. In this survey, around 7000 schools and concerned parents took part to have an insight of Healthy Food campaign. Survey results showed that 90% of the participants believed that Canadian schools should highlight students’ health and focus on more balanced diets. Hence, inclusion of Nutrition Education Program in regular curriculum is necessary. In Canada, there is no such effective national policy for nutritionals food or schools having proper feeding program. In this concern, for the first time in 2003, Local Government of Novas Scotia (NS) implemented food policy and started keeping eye on Children’s Lifestyle (Ma & Schapira, 2017).
The level of nutrition-related knowledge masterly among the public as well as school going children can also be tracked as an outcome with the goal of gaining an insight into the success of an NEP. Notably, this outcome can be realized through approaches, such as interviews whereby, a selected study population can be promoted to respond to certain nutrition related questions. Their responses can be evaluated to gauge their masterly of the subject matter (nutrition aspects). This outcome can be evaluated in close reference to the Nutrition Policy for NS (NSNP), which was introduced in 2006 (Hamon & Smith, 2017).This policy clearly sheds more light on proper diet chart, nutritional guidelines, and affordable healthy food in school premises. Notably, it helps both parents and children to maintain healthy food habits while ensuring that school governing body promote healthy eating within and outside school setting. This policy not only aids in easy access to safe and healthy food beverages but also made it mandatory for each public school to abide by healthy food standard by school canteens. Under the policy, schools only provide milk, 100% fruit juice and clean water as beverage (Ma & Schapira, 2017). Notably, the policy also considers the cost-effective pricing and health promotion approaches among parents and children. Apart from this, there are other food programs, like,Food Security for Canada, National Food program for Schools, and Program for School Lunchthat can guide in tracking the outcome of NEP. Canadian government is encouraging local private schools to structure nutrition committee in each school to discuss serious eating habits.
The prevalence of nutrition related illnesses, such as obesity can be used to track the outcomes of the NEP. As an outcome of these initiatives, there had been many changes regarding health issues among children and the general population at large. According to Wilson et al. (2015), 31.5% Canadian children are suffering from either overweight or obesity. Notably, 6 out of 10 Canadian children aged between 6 to 8 years are required to be served five times a day. The meals should include 3 varieties of vegetables and 1 variety of a fruit. Lack of knowledge about good food leads to ignorance of this diet (Sabatelli, 2017). It has been observed that if children are habituated with healthy eating practices aging between 6 years to 13 years, they can carry it for the rest of lives. Hence, Healthy Eating promoted by school nutritional programs help to reduce risk of heart diseases among children by 11.2%. Other than this, also risk of diabetes, cholesterol obesity and high blood pressure was also minimized (Heatstroke Foundation, 2018).
As previously mentioned, various parameters can be used to track the outcome of NEP. Notably, assigning a timeline to the tracking process will go a long way in sheading more light on the success of the undertaking. In general, for the tracking parameters considered, it will take a minimum of two years to show progress. Some of the approaches that will be used to measure success include statistics of the prevalence of nutrition related illness and interviews which will be directed to students and the general population at large. If I am a practitioner, some of the objectives that I would have include lowering the prevalence of obesity by 20 percent per year and boosting the masterly of nutrition related knowledge by 10 percent. Within the range of year 2005 to 2013 (8 years), progress of various Healthy Food Programs has been observed below:
- Mandatory Guidelines for Food and Beverage in British Colombia School: this policy was first introduced in 2005 and was last updated in 2015. This school follows a Three-step strategy for creating menu. The sell most section includes 50% healthy items, the sell sometimes section includes not healthy yet nutrients items and do not sell section has unhealthy products high in calorie. 80% days of a month students are required to have lunch from sell most section (Mitchell, 2017).
- Nutrition policy of New Brunswick 2008: it was introduced in 1991, however, became active in 2008. According to this policy, each private school in this area are subjected to promote healthy eating and ban selling of unhealthy food items in school canteens and vendors in school premises. Vending machines and canteens should charge least price for most neutrinos products so that each student can afford it.
- Program for food policy in Ontario Schools– memorandum no 135 – This policy certified a three-stage dietary chart. This includes ‘healthy chart’ served to 80% days in a year. Less healthy food served in the other 18% days. The third stage of non-healthy food items served in 14 special functions of schools making to the rest 2% of total days (National Council on Family Relationships., 2019).
- School Nutrition policy 2008: though this policy does not mention any exact food standard, participatory three schools created their own policy for nutritious food standard. This policy is called P.E.I SNP. This policy was dependent on a three-model strategy, naming serve most, often and least section in menu. This policy also strictly banned
- consumption of soft drinks filled with sweeteners and carbohydrates among students and energy drinks (Sabatelli, 2017). This policy forbade use of chocolates or other high calorie sweets as positive reinforcement in and outside school premises. The schools also collaborated with local agricultural farms to deliver organic food products in canteens.
- Document for Territorial Guidance 2013: during this time, organizations realized that they need to keep records about progress after implementing this guideline of healthy food intake. This documentation helped food and beverage industry to look upon this matter and launch nutritious food items for youth according to schools’ guidelines of various provisions.
Apart from all these policies there still lies gap in proper knowledge of healthy diet among children. Therefore, in order a better healthy future, parents and school authorities of Canada are advised to self-study of Food guide of Canada. Schools should implement more Nutrition Food programs in curriculum. Teachers should also spread their helping hands by meal planning and monitor if any student is lacking balanced diet.
FLE is a science that is anchored on translational with action. Notably, FLE settings vary and may include support programs, relationship education, nutrition education program, and patient resource programs. This essay has considered NEP as a FLE setting. Needless to say, having a healthy food directly impacts on growth of adolescents and academic performance. Students having proper diet chart always remain active physically and mentally and become successful in their academics. In this regard, a strict diet chart should be followed by school authority and consumption of high calorie snacks should also been banned. Further, in school premises and within 1 km there shall be no fast food outlets. In the past, this strategy has been found to reduce the consumption of junkies among students. It has resulted in increasing number of students having vegetables and fruits during break times. Among the three tracking outcomes considered, I think that observing the prevalence of nutrition related illnesses is the most reasonable approach to ascertain if NEPs are enhancing the general wellbeing.
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