Junk food back on the school menu

A new paper published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal discusses the Government’s recent decision to remove the healthy food policy for schools. The authors of the paper, Jennifer Utter, Robert Scragg, Teuila Percival and Robert Beaglehole, suggest that the removal of the 2008 clause in the National Administration Guidelines requiring schools to make only healthy food and beverages available at school will “contribute to the current generation of young people facing a lifetime burden of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases because of poor nutrition”.

Surveys of school canteens prior to the 2008 clause have found, say the authors, that pies, sauasge rolls, chips, crisps, cakes, donuts and sweet drinks were all common in school canteens, with fewer than half schools having fruit on the menu and if healthier options were available they were more expensive.

It is unfortunate that the healthy food clause has been removed before the full impact could be realsied, say the authors.

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