Create a Healthy Future for Your Children: Congress Must Pass the Nutrition Education Act Bill

Do you want your children to have a healthy future?

Congress must pass the Nutrition Education Act.

Nutrition education is an essential part of health education programs that empowers children to make healthy food choices. According to psychological theoretical frameworks, schools are an important environmental influence on children’s dietary behaviors.[1] Family, peers, media, and environment influence children’s eating habits, where the habits developed during childhood carry into adulthood. Thus, childhood influences should optimally have positive effects on school-aged children, providing a basis for good nutrition habits to be followed up throughout one’s life.[2] If sound nutrition education programs are included in the school curriculum, children have the agency to expand their nutritional knowledge and learn to select healthy food choices at homes, schools, and restaurants.[3]

Not Enough Nutrition Education

However, students in the United States are not receiving enough nutrition education. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US students receive less than 8 hours of required nutrition education each school year, which is below the 40 to 50 hours recommended to affect behavioral change. In addition, the CDC indicated that the percentage of schools providing nutrition education decreased from 84.6% to 74.1% between 2000 and 2014.[4]

Concerns are increasing that students are receiving their nutrition knowledge from advertisements instead.[5] Food advertisements are the largest single category of children’s television, accounting for half of all the advertisements shown.[6] The food advertisements contain animation, humor, story, and suggest product consumption associated with fun and mood improvement; however, the content of the food advertised is unhealthy.[7] Given the important role of nutrition education in students’ health and future, and given that our students are receiving nutrition knowledge from food companies instead of an evidence-based nutrition education that promotes healthy eating, we should advocate for a mandate that requires nutrition education to be embedded into school’s curriculum.

What is in the Act?

Therefore, I am writing in support of the Nutrition Education Act.

The bill requires educational agencies participating in the national lunch program to include 50 hours of nutrition education each school year, the minimum of hours necessary to influence behavior. In addition, the bill adds that nutrition education should

  • teach a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program, incorporated into classroom instruction in subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences, and elective subject
  • include enjoyable and participatory activities such as taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens
  • promote health-enhancing nutrition practices
  • emphasize caloric balance
  • teach media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing
  • provide training for teachers and staffs in nutrition education.

Since the bill was not enacted in a two-year Congress, the bill dies as the Congress adjourns. A bill must pass through the House and Senate and then be signed by the President to become a law.

Protect Our Kid’s and Our Nation’s Future

The nation’s kids should be healthy as it is our nation’s future, and we should equip them with the knowledge that guides them to a healthy life. Since it is the interest of the public to empower our children to make healthy food choices, I’m advocating for bipartisan support of the Nutrition Education Act (H.R. 5308). Now is the time to pass the Nutrition Education Act. It is up to us to fight for the future of this country and to ensure that our children are healthy and will make healthy choices.

Contact your legislators on this website today and advocate for this bill to pass:

[1] Rafiroiu, Anca Codruta, and Alexandra Evans. “Nutrition Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices among Nutrition Educators in the South.” American Journal of Health Studies 20, no. 1 (March 2005): 29-38.

[2] Raby Powers, Alicia, Barbara J. Struempler, Anthony Guarino, and Sondra M. Parmer. “Effects of a Nutrition Education Program on the Dietary Behavior and Nutrition Knowledge of Second-Grade and Third-Grade Students.” Journal of School Health 75, no. 4 (April 2005): 129–133.

[3] Kandiah, Jay, and Charlotte Jones. “Nutrition Knowledge and Food Choices of Elementary School Children.” Early Child Development and Care 172, no. 3 (June, 2002): 269–73.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nutrition Education in US Schools. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021).

[5] Hill, Andrew J. “Developmental Issues in Attitudes to Food and Diet.” The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 61, no. 2 (May 2002): 259–266.

[6] Hill, 261.

[7] Hill, 261.