School-age children are in the developmental latent time of growth. During this period a child’s growth rate slows and developmental changes are gradual. The introduction of school and other outside activities presents new food options that include school lunches, vending machines, and snacks in the homes of friends.
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The introduction of new food options can cause a challenge in encouraging healthy eating behaviors for the parents or caregivers. It’s important for parents/caregivers to know what the child is eating during school hours, this way they can provide healthy snacks as well as a nutritious breakfast and dinner. Research studies show foods provided and eaten by the parents/caregivers strongly influence the foods chosen by their children when away from the home environment as well as influence the child’s performances in school (Herring & Engelke, 2018).
Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, as well as support a healthy growth and development leading up to adulthood. A healthy diet can also have a reflective effect on a child’s sense of mental and emotional wellbeing (Help Guide, 2018). According to the American Journal of Health Education the main concern regarding physical dietary behaviors of children is the increased risk for obesity and its potential effect for some health issues. These heath risk include chronic hypokinetic diseases including coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers. Obese children are twice as likely to be obese as adults compared to nonobese children. Therefore, it is critical to examine factors on decisions making about healthy eating with the elementary school population to help provide important information to aid in obesity prevention (American Journal of Health Education, 2015).
Oliver Beach Elementary school located in Baltimore, MD opened in 1981 and teaches Pre-K through 5th grade. Ranked 560th out of 858 elementary schools, Oliver Beach holds a capacity of 265 and has total enrollment of 204 students for the 2017-2018 school year (BCPS,
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