Effects of Free Meals among Children’s Health and Education

July 11, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. adequate [AD-i-kwit] (adj.) – enough or meets the needed requirements
Example: Teachers make sure that they give adequate attention to each student.

2. crucial [KROO-shuh l] (adj.) – very significant or important
Example: Education is crucial to a child’s future success.

3. safeguard [SEYF-gahrd] (v.) – to protect or to keep someone or something safe; to guard
Example: The charitable institution aims to safeguard poor children from hunger and diseases.

4. deterrent [dih-TUR-uh nt, -TUHR-, -TER-] (n.) – something that delays an event or activity
Example: Poverty is one of the deterrents that keep children from finishing school.

5. benefit [BEN-uh-fit] (v.) – to gain something
Example The feeding program benefits the malnourished children.


Read the text below.
A report from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) stated that giving free meals to students in poor areas are important to the children’s health and education.

Abdoulaye Diagne, director of the Consortium [kuh n-SAWR-shee-uh m, -tee-] for Social Economic Research in Dakar, led a study during the school year 2009-2010. In this study, researchers selected 120 primary schools in four of the poorest rural areas of Senegal. Sixty schools received daily free lunches of vegetable and rice, with either fish or meat, while the other sixty schools did not.

The report revealed that students who received adequate nutrition were able to learn, understand, memorize, and reason better.  They also had higher test scores in French compared with students who did not receive free lunches.

According to Bettina Luescher [LOO-sher] of WFP, giving meals is crucial for students in different schools worldwide. Eating lunch also has a great impact on children’s growth to become strong and smart adults.

Luescher added that free school lunches kept children, particularly girls, at school, thus safeguarding children from crises like droughts and war. Poor families also see the school meals as a way to prevent their children from being hungry.

The United Nations WFP and the local government allot $75 billon for school lunches in poor countries worldwide. However, only 18% of the poor school children benefit from free lunches.

Although cost is the main deterrent for governments funding the free lunches, the WFP looks at the program as an investment that can give the children a better future.  

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think the United Nations WFP make projects like free school lunches?
·         Do you think free meals are enough to improve the life of poor school children? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of eating healthy foods, especially for students? Please explain your answer.
·         Do you think eating healthy food is enough to have a healthy body? Why or why not?


July 11, 2013