Policy promotes healthier eating in ACT public schools

Released 27/02/2015

Minister for Education and Training Joy Burch MLA this morning launched the new ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy at Namadgi Public School.

“The ACT Government is leading by example by promoting healthy food habits to our young people through their school,” Ms Burch said.

The policy will see the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines Traffic Light System applied to the sale of all food and drinks in school canteens and to all ACT public school activities and events.

This system places food into the green, amber or red category depending on its nutritional value. For example, foods such as vegetables and fruit are in the green category as they form the basis of a healthy diet. This policy is a key component of the Towards Zero Growth Healthy Weight Action Plan.

“The ACT Government is committed to improving access to healthy food and drink options in our schools. The feedback from the consultation provided useful insight into how the policy would be perceived by parents and carers in particular and I am pleased that amajority of respondents indicated they would be happy with the changes being implemented.

“The new policy is part of a range of initiatives to improve healthy eating at ACT public schools. Our attitudes towards food are formed during childhood so it makes sense that once a child begins school, the school environment plays a role in influencing their food preferences.

“We also know that there is a significant link between health and education outcomes. Healthy children are able to concentrate and learn more successfully.”

Over recent years, schools have been progressively introducing measures to help students make healthy choices. Last year, the Fresh Tastes: Healthy Food at School Program was introduced to support classroom learning about good nutrition and growing as well as cooking and selling healthy food and drink in ACT schools.

“This new policy promotes a consistent, whole school approach to healthy food and drinks and will help develop healthy eating and drinking habits from an early age,” Ms Burch concluded.

Hugh Boulter, Vice President of the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, said the new policy provided support to parents who are looking to reinforce the importance of healthy eating to their kids.

“As parents we need to send clear and simple messages to our children that we must adopt a long term approach to their health and well being, and this policy supports this perfectly,” Mr Boulter said.

The ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy, factsheets and frequently asked questions are available on www.det.act.gov.au.

- Statement ends -

Section: Joy Burch, MLA | Media Releases

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