In January 2014 a study was published by Wilder Research that documented the effects of nutrition on academic performance. According to the study “Research suggests that diets high in trans and saturated fats can negatively impact learning and memory. Nutritional deficiencies early in life can affect the cognitive development of school-aged children, and access to nutrition improves students’ cognition, concentration, and energy levels.”
Who is most likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies? Families that are near the poverty line. When most of the income goes towards rent and bills, especially in a place like Denver, where the cost of living has risen exponentially, there is often not enough money for food. Fast food is cheap, and kids love it, so it’s easy to fall into the habit of purchasing it as the main source of nutrition. However, according to the study linked above, fast food can be detrimental to a child’s development. It is heartbreaking to see disadvantaged children be set up for failure so early, even if the parents are doing their best. This is why it is important for us as a community to step up and give these students a chance. If school lunches can give a child the nutrition they need, then we can step up and provide the weekend meals. Any one should have a chance to succeed, and helping an underprivileged child today, can make sure we have a more compassionate and educated leaders tomorrow.