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Fruit in Schools hits Western Bay of Plenty

10 October 2006

Fruit in Schools hits Western Bay of Plenty

From 16 October 2006 children’s lunchboxes as we know them will never be the same!

As part of phase three of the Fruit in Schools programme (FIS), pupils from Merivale School, Te Kura o Matapihi and Te Kura o Maketu will receive a free piece of fresh export quality fruit every day, for up to three years, from next Monday.

“These three schools are the first to receive the Fruit in Schools programme in the Western Bay and it’s really exciting for the children and the wider community,” says Toi Te Ora – Public Health Health Promoter and Western Bay of Plenty Fruit in Schools Coordinator Wiparata Ngatoko.

FIS, funded by the Ministry of Heath has rolled out in the Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Northland, Auckland Central, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui, Wellington and Porirua. Groups such as Toi Te Ora – Public Health, Heart Foundation, School Support Services, Cancer Society, Te Pou Kokiri, Maori Health Services, Tuhoe Education Authority, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Sport BOP and the Ministry of Education are involved in the project.

“It’s about encouraging children to eat more fruit and giving them a jump start to healthy eating,” says Wiparata Ngatoko. “One day pupils might get apples or bananas, and mandarins or kiwifruit the next - it’s prepared and ready to eat - a great way to expose kids to a wide range of fruit available and get their taste buds wanting more!”

Merivale School Principal Jan Tinetti is looking forward to the start of Fruit in Schools.

“It’s really exciting for our school and the community. It will benefit the childrens’ education as well as their health and wellbeing,” she says.

Fruit in Schools – background information

Around 27,000 children in 114 low decile schools throughout New Zealand are taking part in the FIS programme. It came about following the 2002 Child Nutrition Survey, which showed only about two out of five children met the recommended number of serves of fruit (at least two per day).

The project has two parts. The first focuses on encouraging and supporting schools in taking a Health Promoting Schools/ whole school community approach to supporting healthy eating, physical activity, smoke free and sun protection. The second is a targeted component for children attending high need primary schools to receive a free piece of fruit every day for up to three years. This time frame it intended to give schools enough time to set up systems to carry on the FIS programme independently.

Selected schools are expected to work towards becoming a Health Promoting School or to take a whole school approach to addressing the four areas of focus (above). Health Promoting Schools (HPS) emphasise the role school community’s play in promoting and supporting good physical, emotional and social wellbeing. The school can initiate a range of polices and activities such as improving school lunches, parenting skills classes, mental health programmes – in conjunction with community organisations.


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