Selling food around schools should stop

Editorial

THE selling of any items, especially food, in and around school premises should stop.
The sale of food out in the open poses health risks.
It is already a health concern as such practices, particularly junk foods, has been blamed as one of the contributing factors to the poor health of children.
Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra earlier in the year issued a circular to all schools in the nation’s capital to ban the sale of food in and around school premises.
The ban should be extended to all schools in the country, as the selling of food is now common.
Dr Kombra is in his circular said parents and guardians are not taking the responsibility to prepare suitable and healthy meals for their children.
Schools teach healthy eating in and then undermine that by allowing junk foods to be sold either in the canteens or in and around the school premises.
Like the phrase, ‘You are what you eat’, our children should be given healthful food at all times.
The phrase is literally true. Nutrients from the foods our children eat provide the foundation of the structure, function, and integrity of every little cell in their body – from the skin and hair to the muscles, bones, digestive and immune systems.
Despite the limited experimental evidence, there is growing concern the availability of junk foods in schools has contributed to the obesity epidemic among children.
Junk foods have been blamed as one of the contributing factors to the poor health of children, with Papua New Guinea ranked ‘worst’ in the Pacific in terms of malnutrition.
Some health findings worldwide suggest that efforts to combat childhood obesity must be aimed at parents and the foods available at home and outside of school.
And regardless of their ultimate impact, the food sold in schools should reinforce the message of healthy eating that children are taught in the classroom.
If there are school canteens, they should serve a range of food, not just salads, sandwiches and other health foods in order to provide a choice and at an affordable price.
Schools also need to teach pupils how to make healthy choices and what makes a balanced diet.
They need education on what’s good for them and then be given the chance to choose for themselves between a banana and a chocolate bar.
Otherwise, as soon as they’re out of school, they’ll still eat three chocolate bars because you have not changed their mindset.
If children try healthy foods at school, they can take their knowledge home and introduce new foods to their family.
A balanced diet includes small amounts of sugar, fat and salt – how do you decide what is healthy and what is not?
Portions are key to a healthy diet.
If pupils are very active and involved in sport, they may need to eat a lot of calories.
The upbringing of children is mostly down to parents.
Children and parents need to be taught to make responsible choices for themselves.
We must all take responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our children.

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