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Reinstate healthy school food guidelines

Obesity action group backs call to reinstate healthy school food guidelines
15 September 2009

Embargoed until 1pm

The Obesity Action Coalition is right behind the call to reinstate healthy food guidelines in schools.

Director Leigh Sturgiss says the Government’s decision in February to ditch the requirement for schools to sell healthy foods at the tuck shop was nothing short of bizarre.

“Figures from 2007 show one in five New Zealand children aged 2 to 14 years is overweight (20.9%). A further one in twelve is obese (8.3%), and the health of three out of ten children (29.2%) is at risk because of excessive weight.

“The healthy food options in schools initiative was introduced as one measure to help reverse these appalling obesity figures among our children.

“Then, with little or no consultation, the Minister of Education changed the rules so tuck shops could again sell foods like pies and chips at the canteen, sending the message to our kids that it’s OK to eat this sort of food every day.

Leigh Sturgiss says the National Administration Guidelines now state that healthy food and nutrition must be promoted to all students, but dropping the requirement to sell only healthy food in school canteens flies in the face of that.

“This is the equivalent of teachers promoting good reading and writing skills, but having books in the school library full of spelling mistakes.”

She says the Obesity Action Coalition fully endorses the Green Party’s petition for healthy food guidelines to be reinstated in schools.

“The guidelines were working extremely well and had wide support from parents and schools. Why they were ever removed is a complete mystery.”

ENDS

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