Filed under Editorial

Schools in Finland pay for success

In America, there is a range of food, where fruits and vegetables are not commonly fresh. America should follow Finland's path and prepare nutritious meals for students of all ages.

Abigail Wagner

In America, there is a range of food, where fruits and vegetables are not commonly fresh. America should follow Finland's path and prepare nutritious meals for students of all ages.

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Since 1948, schools in Finland, have funded school lunches and education for students which has contributed to their better health and success. America’s government should fund students’ lunches and schooling just like Finland. Doing this would help the students’ learning environment and their feeling of safety and comfort.

Finland is the third most expensive country in the world. Through programs, funding, and taxes, the government has been able to pay for student lunches and schooling. Marjo Ilmari, the director of TEKES, a program that helps fund these student needs, has also helped develop a Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. She believes every student should have the chance to be healthy and get a good meal despite financial problems. According to foodrepublic.com, “All schools in Finland are either public or publicly funded and none of them, from preschool through a Ph.D. program, charge tuition.” These funding programs believe that the students should not have to worry about money until they are employed and able to finance their family.

The Finland government pays for education and lunches as they look closely at the needs of every individual.
Students who may be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, diabetic, and low-carb or low-fat don’t have to worry about bringing in their own lunches. This is due to Finland schools including a variety of nutritious foods for all needs and preferences. Every morning, the cafeteria cooks take time preparing meals that meet the government’s standards. Lunches include farm fresh ingredients; vegetables are half of every meal and fruit must make up a quarter of the plate. Whole grain bread is also baked and served. This variety has diminished Finland’s obesity rate; according to stateofobesity.org, around 23% men and women in Finland are obese compared to 80% adults who do not meet America’s government health standards.

Paying for lunches has not only improved student health, but has also helped children from low-income families. Stateofobestiry.org also shares, “More than 50 million U.S. children have limited access to healthy food due to cost.” In Finland, free lunches in school could be the only warm meal a child has and, because of this, Finland has also lengthened their lunch periods. Unpackingschoollunches.wordpress.com writes, “Schools [in Finland] are encouraged to create a pleasant, unhurried atmosphere that promotes good manners and the pleasure of eating together.” Lunch periods are an hour long and for students who may be having a stressful school day, a long lunch allows them to loosen up and take a break from their classes.

Studies have shown that there is a link between healthy eating, having an emotional break, and the ability to learn effectively. Finnish students were declared by PISA to be “among the highest-performing test takers in the world.” In America, lunches can include processed meat, canned or rotten fruits and vegetables, and packaged goods. On average, lunches are thirty minutes long, and education is seen as a burden by many students. Thinkadvisor.com performed a study indicating that 83% Americans say they cannot afford college, so they either drop out or choose not to apply. In contrast to the American students, government-funded healthy lunches, longer lunch periods, and free education has helped Finnish students excel and has also cut obesity in the leading generations.

Finland has helped its students by providing a variety of healthy, delicious food, and by paying for the student education. They help students receive their best chance at success. In return, the government has told students to repay them by working and contributing to the country. The United States should follow in Finland’s ways and fund for students’ success.

Should America's government fund education and school lunches?

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