How can unhealthy dietary patterns affect children’s right to education? An analysis of the situation in the United Kingdom

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Vasconcelos, Maria Leonor : Santos Batista Lufinha de
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The right to education is vital in the development of human beings, since it promotes democracy, tolerance and critical thinking, which is why it is extremely important that all children have the best possible access to a multidimensional and multidisciplinary education. However, there are numerous external factors that, although not directly affecting access to this education, influence the quality of learning that each child derives from it. To this end the right to adequate food becomes particularly crucial. As such, this dissertation aims to prove that it is indeed possible to establish a link between the two, especially given that unhealthy diet patterns can have multiple repercussions on the daily functioning of children, consequently negatively impacting their right to education. This is mainly due to the intimate relationship between children with poor diets and the proliferation of disorders that affect focus and concentration skills, namely Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), hyperactivity and hypertension. The connection relates to the fact that unhealthy dietary patterns, such as high levels of refined sugar or saturated and trans fats, contribute to the emergence or worsening of these disorders. At the same time, this results in highly medicated children. Studies demonstrate how this corresponds to a negative impact with regard to the academic performance of children, especially when it comes to memory and learning. The problem is aggravated to the extent that, in most of the Western world today, these unhealthy dietary patterns are so part and parcel of the cultural society that there is enormous resistance to their effective reform, as is visible, for instance, from the rejection and the failure of projects, such as the “School Dinners” in the United Kingdom. This dissertation, therefore, will be build around the following research question: how can unhealthy dietary patterns affect children’s right to education? Given that it aims to investigate the interconnection between unhealthy eating patterns, correlating the previously mentioned disorders impact upon children, and both their influence on children’s education, that is, what impact does not access, but the declining quality of children’s food can exercise on their right to education.
Second semester University: University of Nottingham
right to education, children's rights, children rights, United Kingdom, nutrition, mental health, health