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Food and Beverage classification system

Date 17 July 2007

Food and Beverage classification system – a step in the right direction

The Ministry of Health’s food and beverage classification system, being launched by Hon Pete Hodgson today, is an easy three tier system that identifies food and beverages that should be sold in schools and Early Childhood Education services.

Nutritional problems disproportionately affect Māori, Pacific and children in families with a low socio-economic status, and have direct and indirect impacts on their achievement at school. Good nutrition education and food policies in schools that encourage good nutrition help children learn important life skills, establish good eating habits and, particularly for the at-risk children, can improve nutrition status.

Leigh Sturgiss, Executive Director of the Obesity Action Coalition said, “Moderating what can and can’t be sold at the school canteen is an effective intervention and something we wholeheartedly support. Having foods classified as every day, sometimes or occasional is sensible and easy to implement.

“Anecdotal reports from teachers in schools that have improved nutrition education and introduced food policies which influence what children eat during school times are positive. Teachers believe that when children’s diets improve, even just over the school day, many children become more attentive and easier to teach.

“And doesn’t it make sense for schools to teach good nutrition and then reinforce that message with healthy choices in the school canteen?

“As well as this initiative we need to ensure that the environment outside the school gate is also supportive, which is why we want to see the advertising of food that is high in salt, high in sugar and high in fat regulated”.


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