Photo courtesy of MyPlate Understanding nutrition is essential for student health.

Students need knowledge about nutrition

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Proper nutrients help the human body perform at an optimal level, and some students’ ignorance about what nutrition is hinders them from leading a healthy lifestyle.

The food plate, a nutrition guide, introduces the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy. With a variety of diets such as ketogenic, veganism, and vegetarianism, it can be hard to understand how nutrition fits into these categories. Oftentimes, celebrities are the catalysts in launching major trends, and diets are no exception. However, when students change their diet to conform to a celebrity’s, they do so without understanding the complexities of a major diet change and end up lacking essential nutrients. According to the school survey, the most well-known diet among students is vegetarianism, which totals at 33.11%. Limited knowledge of other diets, for example pescatarianism ranging at 4.97%, makes it difficult for students to understand how to diet safely and nutritiously when adopting new eating habits.

One diet that makes students especially susceptible to a nutrient deficiency is veganism. Transitioning to a vegan diet can be complicated when it comes to obtaining certain nutritious elements like protein, calcium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. If students are unaware of what food items within their diet can provide these nutrients, it may result in a lack of adequate nutrition.

Students should receive education about physical health alongside nutritional health at school. This includes learning about what nutrition is, healthy eating practices, and the relationship between diet and health. Nevertheless, there is a lack of emphasis on taking culinary or nutrition classes at school, and students are not receiving proper education on nutrition. Students are then forced to find off-campus solutions for nutrition education. While physical education is meant to cover topics such as nutrition, students rarely learn about the topic and how they can implement it into their everyday life.

The school offers a single culinary class to educate students about nutrition and this leaves many in the dark. In order to seriously attempt to teach students about nutrition, more culinary or nutrition classes should be offered, and physical education classes should devote time to discussing how different diets affect the body.

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