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April 27, 2006
For immediate release
School Board Policies Now Guide Healthy Eating at School
The Eastern School District and the Western School Board adopted new nutrition policies in 2005, and the French Language School Board has now done so as well. The policies were developed by the boards and schools, working closely with the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance, UPEI, the provincial government and other partners.
The policies recommend foods that should be offered in schools and how often they should be served. They also recommend ways to make healthy food choices easy choices for students.
“By putting these policies in place, school boards are sending a strong message that healthy eating is important for learning and health,” said Minister Dover. “The new policies make schools healthy places for children to be. They also ensure consistency between what children are being taught about nutrition and what foods are available in our schools.”
Health Minister Chester Gillan said Prince Edward Island is one of the first provinces to have comprehensive policies in place for every elementary school, developed in full consultation with teachers, parents and principals. “PEI is becoming a leader in school nutrition through our consistent province-wide approach to promote healthy eating at all schools,” he said. “Our goal is to help students feel good and to have the energy they need to learn academics, as well as healthy lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.”
Dr. Jennifer Taylor of the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance said some schools are already seeing significant changes. “There are less hot dogs being sold while sales of yogurt, granola bars, wraps, soups and potatoes are increasing since the policies have been introduced. We are seeing many more healthy choices being made available,” she said. “Every day children are bombarded with media messages that encourage unhealthy choices. School is now one place they can go where it is easy for them to choose healthy rather than less healthy foods.”
The first phase of the nutrition policy development focussed on elementary schools, consolidated schools and schools in the French Language School Board. The next step is to develop policies for intermediate schools, and then high schools.
The Healthy Eating Alliance is now working with teams of students at four junior high schools to recommend foods to be offered in cafeterias and vending machines, foods for fundraising, and prices that will encourage healthy choices. Smaller groups will be established in each junior high school to recommend best practices to offer good tasting, affordable and healthy food choices at their schools.
For more information on healthy eating or the new school nutrition policies visit the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance website at www.healthyeatingpei.ca.