Do you know what your child is being fed at school? Have you checked out your school’s tuck shop lately?
With the overwhelming increase of childhood obesity and unhealthy eating practices (17% of South African children between one and nine years are either overweight or obese), the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) has launched a groundbreaking Tuck Shop Programme that challenges parents to examine what their children are being served at school.
“Many school tuck shops in South Africa have become much like convenient fast food outlets,” warns Ayesha Seedat, Community Dietitian for the HSFSA’s Tuck Shop Programme.
“In an attempt to beat the queues and satisfy youthful appetites in record time, tuck shops opt to serve calorie laden unhealthy foods that are quick and easy to prepare.
“The new Tuck Shop Programme aims to address this problem by providing tuck shop managers with free nutritional advice, support and menu planning,” Seedat explains.
The main objectives of the programme are to enable children to make healthier choices when faced with a range of options and to prevent obesity and malnutrition in the long term.
“We want to implore school tuck shops to help us promote healthier eating principles by serving more nutritious snacks and meals on a daily basis.”
According to Seedat, a healthy diet is important for a child’s healthy growth and development as well as its capacity to learn and perform effectively and optimally. It will also improve sports performance and may help to prevent the development of obesity and diseases of lifestyle at a young age, as well as later in life. A healthy diet has also been linked to minimised hyperactive behaviour.
The HSFSA suggests the following changes to school tuck shops and lunches:
- include increased offerings of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods
- provide more baked foods instead of deep fried foods; and
- place limits on the fat, sugar and caloric (energy) content of foods served
If you would like more information on the HSFSA’s Tuck Shop Programme visit www.heartfoundation.co.za or contact Ayesha Seedat on 021 447 4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your school and child can benefit from this initiative.
Send your feedback
The HSFSA invites readers to e-mail feedback on what their children’s school tuck shops are serving up (good or bad). E-mail email@example.com to give your input.
- (Health24, February 2010)