Heart Foundation responds to Government stance on school food standards - RePress

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Friday, February 13

Heart Foundation responds to Government stance on school food standards

Heart Foundation Medical Director, Professor Norman Sharpe, has expressed deep disappointment at the Government's decision to relax food standards in schools where positive progress has been made recently.

However, Professor Sharpe says he is pleased the Government will continue to support the promotion of healthy food and nutrition in schools.

"We need to share the ethical responsibility that we have as a community to help children develop a healthier lifestyle," says Professor Sharpe.

The Heart Foundation is now fast-tracking the launch of the Healthy Heart Award - Schools, which is the new name for the long running and highly successful School Food Programme established in 1994.

"When children consume nutritious food we see huge benefits in the classroom with improved learning and concentration. Educating students towards leading healthier lifestyles is a very powerful way to change behaviour and that is why we have chosen to put an even greater focus on this with the Healthy Heart Award," says Professor Sharpe.

The Heart Foundation runs the programme on contract to the Ministry of Health and has previously worked with the Government on a number of successful school-based nutrition and physical activity programmes aimed at heart health.

In fact, more than 400 schools are currently involved in the Heart Foundation's School Food Programme - a figure likely to grow this year. The Foundation gave out 110 awards to schools in recognition of their achievements in 2008 alone and since the inception of the School Food Programme, has presented 1235 awards in total.

"We will continue to run our programmes in schools and early childhood education centres (ECEs) - with Government support - through the Healthy Heart Award. This will promote healthy eating and nutrition, as we have always done, and we will provide this service free for the good of our children and the wider community."

The Healthy Heart Award provides schools with resources, guidance and support to encourage healthy eating. It takes a whole-school approach to healthy eating and is offered free to all schools and ECEs to help the school community to identify and address a wide range of healthy eating issues.

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