Thursday, April 18, 2024

Healthy drinks promoted in schools

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Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

The Minister of Education has recently announced that public consultation has opened on a proposal for primary schools to only offer healthy drinks.

“We know that if kids eat and drink well, there are a myriad of benefits and good outcomes for learning,” Chris Hipkins says.

“While some schools have already seen these results and chosen to put their own healthy drinks policies in place, we want to hear what people think about whether we can replicate those benefits across all primary schools and for all young people, parents and teachers.”

One of these primary schools is Pakuranga Heights School.

Sue Kandasamy, acting principal, says that the school encourages water only, healthy lunches, healthy snacks (fruit and veggie sticks), no lollies/chocolates in the lunchboxes and having a book for the library instead of birthday treats.

“We have a sit-down morning tea and lunch so teachers are able to monitor lunch boxes as much as possible,” she says.

Cockle Bay School has a food and nutrition policy which incorporates drinks. “We promote a healthy lifestyle within our communities – students, staff, and families,” principal Dorothy Bigwood says.

“Educating students about nutrition and encouraging healthy active learning contributes to their personal success and wellbeing and to a healthier community for everyone.”

Hipkins says that dental decay is now the most common issue reported among children in New Zealand and rates of obesity among children increased significantly between September 2020 and August 2021.

“Further, sugar-sweetened beverages account for more than a quarter of children’s sugar intake in NZ,” he says.hydration and to refuel with healthy snacks.

The consultation is an opportunity for schools, kura, whanau and health professionals to have their say on the proposed approach, and other options being considered. This includes promoting healthy food and nutrition.

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