viernes, 23 de enero de 2015

Increasing Food-Safety Education in Schools Could Reduce Foodborne Illness in Kids

Consumer Food Safety Education Conference reveal that there is a nationwide lack of food-safety education in schools.
Each year, an estimated 48 million Americans contract a foodborne illness, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Vulnerable populations, including children, seniors, pregnant and postpartum women, and those with compromised immune systems, are at greater risk for foodborne illness.
Because these populations constitute more than half of the American population, educating them about the risks is important. Many foodborne pathogens have a disproportionate impact on children younger than five do. The incidence of most foodborne pathogens is highest for this demographic. Some die from these preventable illnesses, and many others suffer lasting health problems such as reactive arthritis, the need for kidney transplants, and seizures.
Children face higher risks when exposed to pathogens because their immune systems are less developed and less able to fight infections, because they have lower body weights, it takes less of a pathogen to cause an illness.
Interventions to reduce the high incidence rate of infections in children should be a national priority. Consequently, food-safety education in schools and community would be an important tool to achieve Healthy People 2020 objectives.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts the School Health Policies and Practices study every six years. The most recent study done in 2012 showed that only half of school districts require teaching about foodborne illness prevention in elementary schools. Just less than 60 percent require the education in middle schools and 64 percent require it in high schools.
The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences endorses the teaching of food-safety concepts and safe food-handling practices to children of all ages in schools, but there have been decreases in Family and Consumer Sciences courses for middle- and high-school students in recent years.
In 2014, CFI conducted a food-safety survey of educators, they found that half of respondents did not realize foodborne illnesses are infectious diseases that many do not regularly use thermometers, and that only half said they teach food safety multiple times over the course of the year.
Drawing the public’s attention to the long-term impacts of foodborne illness and the fact that it such disease spread from person to person would make them. Apart from integrating food safety into the curriculum across math, science, technology, language arts and social studies classes, schools can highlight food safety in parent-teacher conferences, weekly newsletters, or teacher blogs. Schools can also insist on hand washing and hand sanitizer use, display posters on food safety, and encourage science projects or school-TV segments about food safety.

Source: Food Safety News

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