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reintroducing unhealthy food at schools 'peculiar'

Health group says decision to reintroduce unhealthy food at schools ‘peculiar’

Obesity Action Coalition – 5 February 2009

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is dismayed at the Government’s announcement that schools will once more be able to sell unhealthy options at the tuck shop.

“This is a very peculiar decision, given the current obesity epidemic,” says OAC Executive Director Leigh Sturgiss.

“One in three New Zealanders aged 15 or over is overweight and one in four is obese. The healthy food options in schools initiative was introduced as one measure to help stop our children being part of these appalling obesity figures.

“By enabling schools to once more sell foods like pies and chips at the canteen, we are sending our kids the message that it’s OK to eat this sort of food every day.”

Leigh Sturgiss says schools and parents were increasingly supportive of the availability of healthy food at school.

“While some schools were hesitant about the change at first, many could see the benefits. And parents were pleased schools provided healthy food that backed up the food choices they were encouraging their children to make at home.”

She says it is ironic that schools are required to promote healthy food and drink to students, while selling fat- and sugar- laden foods at the canteen.

“We need to send a strong, consistent message to our kids to eat healthy food most of the time, and treat foods like pies and chips occasionally.”

ENDS

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