Australia Food and Grocery Council’s

Provide a 1800 word rationale for your project which identifies its direction and philosophy and locates it in a broader social (or policy) context – explaining why your project is significant and should be supported and/or funded.

Details to include are:

1- Title

2- Your role and Organisation,

3- Project Scope including Summary, 4- Goal and Objectives,

5- Project Rationale and Time

6- Schedule (Gantt Chart).

PRESCHOOL CHILDREN, PRIMARY AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PROGRAMS ON HEALTHY EATING

Project Title

Healthy Eating: It’s not just about eating apples! Developing programs for preschool children, primary and high school students on healthy eating.

Role and Organisation

Australia Food and Grocery Council’s main mandate is to develop specific nutritious programs for different age groups in the community. The focus of their programs is directed towards promoting healthy eating. The two organisations are concerned with developing and implementation of nutritious programs across various settings ranging from schools to elderly homes and hospitals. In this case, the healthy eating programs to be developed are to be implemented in schools (Department of Health and Aging, 2008). The organisation is under the Department of Health and Ageing and its workforce is majorly composed of nutrition officers who are extensively experienced in matters of developing and implementing healthy diet programs that target children.    

Project Summary

             In this project there will be development of a pilot program for various schools randomly sampled in a particular state in Australia. The criteria for selection of the schools to be included in the project are that, they must have all the levels of schooling; preschool, primary school as well as high school. The aim of the program to be developed is to introduce a new diet method that nutritious to the children going to school. Prior to the beginning of the project there will be elimination of all confounding variables with potential to influence the program. The confinement of the program will be strictly to boarding schools to ensure a significant reduction of confounding variables’ interference. In addition, the focus of the new diet implementation will be in the incorporation of a balanced diet in all three meals during the day for three meals. All the participating children will have their weights taken and recorded prior and after the program. This will be followed by a physical check-up on all children prior and after the study in order to ensure that the changes caused by the program are assessed. The grouping of all the children will be based on their ages. Another group of children not participating in the study will be taken as a control where the collection of data will be done in the children of the same age group.

Project Goal

This project has a goal of developing a program that will promote healthy eating among school going children in order to improve their nutritional status.

Project Objectives

 The specific objectives aimed to be achieved in this program include:

  1. To develop a diet program that promotes healthy eating among children in the school setting.
  2. Develop a program of a balanced diet in order to meet the school children health needs.
  3. Develop a physical program aimed at effectively reducing issues related to overweight and obesity.
  4. Educate children on the use of available resources to implement a healthy and nutritious diet.
  5. Create awareness among the society on the imperativeness and significance of healthy and nutritious foods.
  6. Encourage school children to form health and physical clubs.

Project Rationale    

Patterns and trends of healthy eating habits at childhood and adolescent play a vital role in promoting optimal growth among school going children (Burns et al., 2013). Sahota (2014) noted that these patterns are fundamental in intellectual development among the children in addition to promoting their growth. Additionally, these patterns also determine the development of modern day health problems such as anaemia, dental caries, overweight, obesity, among other eating disorders (Slusser et al., 2011).  This may also be critical in influencing prevention or reduction of health problems that are long term including stroke, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases (Denney-Wilson et al., 2013; Wilson et al., 2011). As a result, developing healthy eating school programs can help school going children to achieve good health as well as their optimal educational potential (Wilson et al., 2011).

Healthy eating programs in schools play an important role in ensuring that healthy eating habits are promoted among school children. This is attributable to the fact that, dietary factors in these school based programs are essential in ensuring that there is substantial reduction of premature deaths caused by nutrition related illness in countries such as Australia (Grube et al., 2013). In fact, the Department of Health and Aging advocates for schools to develop a nutrition health promotion for all students from pre-school and 12th grade. National Health and Medical Research Council abbreviated as NHMRC is in the forefront in encouraging all schools across Australia to introduce and teach healthy eating and nutrition matters in their educational system (Department of Health and Aging, 2008). The two organisations are fully aware of the imperative role in developing healthy eating among small children.

A number of healthy and nutrition programs that are school based have a high potential of improving dietary habits and practises among young persons in childhood and adolescent phases of growth in order to deal with a wide range of health issues often affecting them. According to Just and Price (2013), some of the eating patterns that manifest unhealthy trend among children include under nutrition, obesity, iron deficiency anaemia, as well as being overweight. Wilson, Magarey and Masterson (2013) stated that under nutrition has the potential of causing a lasting negative influence on cognitive development of children as well as their respective school performance. In addition, undernourished children are believed to be likely of attaining lower scores or grades in school setting, especially when the test is related to languages (Bevans et al., 2011). Furthermore, school children who are hungry and undernourished have compromised immune system which makes them vulnerable to infections meaning that such children have a more likelihood to miss school and this can subsequently have a significant negative influence on their performance in class. In addition, a significant number of such children have low concentration in class because of their low energy levels and also show increased levels of irritability (Denney-Wilson et al., 2013; Wilson et al., 2011). 

As a result, most of such children miss school and fall behind curriculum compared to other children, especially those coming from poor backgrounds (Bevans et al., 2011). Some reports from the health department in the Australia indicate that millions of children suffer from hunger over the course of years while in school (Department of Health and Aging, 2008). Dudley, Cotton and Peralta (2015) conducted a study in some Australia schools on school children coming from schools located in low income areas whereby health programs led to improved standardised scores as well as a reduction in school absence rates and tardiness among school children. The health program envisaged to be developed will ensure that children across various settings will grow well mentally as well as physically. In addition, children across varied settings have a high likelihood of suffering from mineral deficiency, especially iron deficiency which subsequently leads to anaemia. This means that such a health program has the potential to prevent or eliminate some of the associated health deficiencies that are not easy to detect in general populations (Denney-Wilson et al., 2013; Wilson et al., 2011).     

These kinds of health programs aim to address another major problem that affect the health and nutrition of children across pre-school, primary and high school levels. Overweight and obesity rates have also been noted to be increasing exponentially among school children across schools in Australia. For instance, it has been noted that the current prevalence rates have doubled among school children aged between 6-17 years over the past three decades (Tran et al., 2014). Such high obesity levels are associated with sedentary life as well as increased intake of junk foods and animals that have high cholesterol levels, which are directly related to cardiovascular diseases. As a result, increased physical activity and balanced diets have the potential to effectively address this health problem. Thus, this health programs are aimed at ensuring that such health issues are dealt with through increased awareness as well as appropriate physical activity methods (Tran et al., 2014).

Townsend, Murphy and Moore (2011) stated that eating disorders in adolescents in most cases commonly begin at adolescence whose eating behaviours are influenced by moodiness, depression, low self esteem, negative body image compared to other age groups.  As a result, the program will involve creation of awareness and motivation to avoid negative eating habits. Guidelines for use by nutritional management will also be developed in this program outlining the required food proportions of a balanced diet including carbohydrates, proteins, fats as well as other important components of a balanced diet including vitamins, fibre, water and minerals. In addition, the health program should also encompass their oral hygiene for the purpose of preventing dental cavities commonly observed in children at the preschool level. This phenomenon is prevalent among the school children at this stage because they lack oral hygiene awareness. Thus, the program will ensure that these children are educated on the importance of their oral hygiene and develop a guideline aimed at promoting oral hygiene by encouraging brushing of teeth. Furthermore, the program will also incorporate teachers of such children and a chart demonstrating oral hygiene will also be developed.          

Conclusion

            This healthy eating program which has been proposed in this project is aimed at providing all the fundamental elements of a balanced and nutritious diet. As a result, healthy program is highly essential at ensuring that balanced diets are implemented in all schools across the three levels because of their potential to protect the school going children against diet related diseases. In turn, the children will benefit from improved health and their optimal potential academically and physically. The effect of developing and implementing healthy eating programs in schools might have the greatest impact among small children in preschool and primary school, especially during the respective development and growth phases. Once full implementation of such programs has been achieved it is highly likely that the children will grow and develop healthily. In addition, more awareness on healthy program will be created among the children.        

The Gantt chart

 Sep – Oct 2016Nov 2016Dec 2016Jan – Feb 2017Mar – Apr 2017Apr – May 2017Jun- Aug 2017Sep- Oct 2017Nov –Dec  2017Jan – Feb 2018
1.Project proposal write-up         
2.Proposal defence         
3.Literature Review         
4.Develop conceptual framework         
5.Pre-visit         
6.Pretesting Instruments         
7.Collection of the study data         
8.Laboratory Experimentation         
9.Results Analysis and Experimentation         
10.Report Write Up and presentation         

Reference List

Bevans, KB, Sanchez, B, Teneralli, R & Forrest, CB 2011, ‘Children’s eating behavior: The importance of nutrition standards for foods in schools.’ Journal of School Health, vol. 81, no. 7, pp. 424–429.

Brindal, E, Wilson, C, Mohr, P & Wittert, G 2014, ‘Nutritional consequences of a fast food eating occasion are associated with choice of quick-service restaurant chain’, Nutrition & Dietetics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 184–192.

Burns, C, Bentley, R, Thornton, L & Kavanagh, A 2013, ‘Associations between the purchase of healthy and fast foods and restrictions to food access: A cross-sectional study in Melbourne, Australia’, Public Health Nutrition, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 143-150. 

Cobiac, L, Record, S, Leppard, P, Syrette, J & Flight, I 2003, ‘Sugars in the Australian diet: results from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey’, Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 152–73.

Denney-Wilson, E, Harris, M, Laws, R & Robinson, A 2013, ‘Child obesity prevention in primary health care: Investigating practice nurse roles, attitudes and current practices’, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 294-299.

Department of Health and Aging 2008, Australian National: Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

Dudley, DA, Cotton, WG & Peralta, LR 2015, ‘Teaching approaches and strategies that promote healthy eating in primary school children: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, vol. 12, no. 1, p. 28-32.

Grube, M, Bergmann, S, Herfurth-Majstorovic, K, Keitel, A, Klein, AM, Klitzing, KV & Wendt, V 2013, ‘Obese parents – Obese children?: Psychological-psychiatric risk factors of parental behaviour and experience for the development of obesity in children aged 0–3′, BMC Public Health, vol.10, no. 1, pp. 1471-2458. 

Just, DR & Price, J 2013, ‘Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children’, Journal of Human Resources, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 855–872.

Pieper, JR & Whaley, SE 2011, ‘Healthy eating behaviors and the cognitive environment are positively associated in low-income households with young children’, Appetite, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 59–64.

Sahota, O 2014, ‘Understanding vitamin D deficiency’, Age and Ageing, vol.43, no. 5, pp. 589-591. 

Slusser, W, Prelip, M, Kinsler, J, Erausquin, JT, Thai, C & Neumann, C 2011, ‘Challenges to parent nutrition education: a qualitative study of parents of urban children attending low-income schools’, Public Health Nutrition, vol. 14, no. 10, pp. 1833–1841.

Townsend, N, Murphy, S & Moore, L 2011, ‘The more schools do to promote healthy eating, the healthier the dietary choices by students’,  Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 65, no. 2, pp. 889–895.

Tran, BX, Ohinmaa, A, Kuhle, S, Johnson, JA & Veugelers, PJ 2014, ‘Life course impact of school-based promotion of healthy eating and active living to prevent childhood obesity’, PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 7, pp. 1371-1380

Wilson, ED, Campbell, K, Hesketh, K & Silva Sanigorski, AD 2011, ‘Funding for child obesity prevention in Australia’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 184-192.

Wilson, A, Magarey, A & Mastersson, N 2013, ‘Reliability of questionnaires to assess the healthy eating and activity environment of a child’s home and school’, Journal of Obesity, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 1155-1165.

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