The National School Lunch Program: History of the Past, Challenges of the Present, Solutions for the Future
Date of Award
Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was initially designed to provide nutritious meals to hungry schoolchildren. Over time, it seems as though this focus has shifted to serving as a source of proper nutrition in a society of over-fed yet undernourished children. The stated purpose of the NSLP is to "safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food." Currently, there are many challenges that the National School Lunch Program faces in meeting its goal of promoting healthful lifestyle practices among school-aged children. Three main challenges include the increase in the amount of competitive foods offered; increased soft drink consumption; and improper meal scheduling. These challenges undermine the goal of the NSLP by promoting less nutritious items that are high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium and very low in nutrients. Several programs have been put in place in the attempt to improve the school foodservice environment, many of which show promising results. Overall, there is still much room for improvement. It is up to nutrition professionals to involve themselves in nutrition policy development, implementation, and enforcement to ensure a healthier future for the nation's schoolchildren.
Smith, Hilary Annie, "The National School Lunch Program: History of the Past, Challenges of the Present, Solutions for the Future" (2006). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 732.
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Janet B. Anderson
Departmental Honors Advisor
Noreen B. Schvaneveldt