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Education Organisation Welcomes Food Guidelines

21 September 06

Early Childhood Education Organisation Welcomes Food Guidelines

Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa/NZ Childcare Association today welcomed the Government Mission-On campaign which will include nutrition classification guidelines for New Zealand's early childhood education (ECE) centres.

"Our ECE member centres are already committed to promoting healthy lifestyles, providing good menus and information for parents", says NZCA Chief Executive Nancy Bell.

"The ECE sector is already highly conscious of the menus they serve the children in their care. For under two-year-olds, teachers must report the food that children eat during the day and for the over-two's menus must be publicly available.

"The students of the NZCA teacher education programme also cover nutrition and menu planning during their qualification", she said.

"But there is always room for improvement and guidelines that provide practical advice about which foods and beverages should be consumed daily, which are for occasional use and which should never be served to children, will clarify Ministry of Education expectations, " she said.

She also welcomed the wide ranging focus of the Mission-On campaign. "The social marketing campaign and the opportunity for youth to have a voice will be important in raising public awareness and changing attitudes nationally."

She cautioned however that ECE centres would be need to be consulted about the detail and rollout of the guidelines.

"Our members weren't consulted about the Mission-On campaign and while they support healthy eating objectives, this is a time of rapid change in the ECE sector.

"They will need full information about what the guidelines entail, how they will be enforced and how they'll be rolled out," Nancy Bell said.

ENDS

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