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10 teaspoons of fat 20 of sugar for school lunch

10 teaspoons of fat 20 of sugar for school lunch, survey shows

The results of a Green Party survey that found much of the food on sale in schools is unhealthy has prompted the launch today of a School Food campaign to get unhealthy foods out of tuckshops.

The survey of lunches sold in 50 primary and secondary schools, conducted in March for Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley, found much of the food was loaded with fat and sugar and low in nutrients.

“The staple foods on offer in most of the schools were pies, hot dogs, sausage rolls, chips, cookies, donuts, cakes and chocolate. Most did not include fruit on the menu and there was not even a roll or a sandwich on the menu in 22 percent of the schools surveyed, Ms Kedgley says.

“This is shocking. If we want to know why childhood obesity and diabetes rates are escalating, we need look no further than school lunches,” Ms Kedgley said.

"A child eating a pie, chips, a cookie and a fizzy drink for lunch is likely to consume 50 grams of fat and 99.4 grams of sugar - or 10 teaspoons of fat and 20 of sugar for lunch.

“Most parents wouldn’t feed their children a constant diet of pies, sausage rolls, donuts and chips, so why do we allow our schools sell this sort of food?”

The School Food campaign aims to get the Education Minister to change the National Educational Goals and National Administration Guidelines so that schools develop a policy that only healthy food and drink can be sold, that healthy eating habits are developed and they do not contribute to obesity, diabetes or dental decay. The campaign encourages parents to send e-cards or postcards to the Minister requesting this.

“Mr Mallard amended these last year to give priority to physical education in schools – we need similar action on food and nutrition. Making this change would be really simple and could almost be done over night,” she says

“Some schools have already introduced such changes, and its now time all schools followed suit.”

The Government launched a National Strategy on Nutrition (Healthy Eating, Healthy Action) with great fanfare last year, but the truth is that much of the food being sold in our schools is undermining this strategy, she says.

“With childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes and dental decay escalating, government leadership is urgently needed to change this and require all schools to sell only healthy food and drink.

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