Schools Wellbeing Policy contains little on healthy eating

By June Shannon Nutrition News   |   31st Jul 2018

Government’s new Wellbeing Policy for Schools has minimal references to healthy eating

Concern has been raised about the minimal references to healthy eating in schools, contained in the Government’s new Wellbeing Policy for Schools.

Launched recently (Friday 20 July) by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton, the Department’s Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice 2018 -2023, contains minimal references to the food environment in schools.

According to the Department, the new policy statement and framework “seeks to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.”

Launching the document, Minister Bruton said, “This Policy will inject momentum into supporting schools to nurture resilience in our students. It recognises that wellbeing is a whole of school responsibility with partnership roles for staff, parents, students and the wider community.”

A national standard for food provision should be developed and that all schools should have a healthy eating policy in written form, as is the norm at primary level,"

Kathryn Reilly, Policy Manager, Irish Heart Foundation

However, the Irish Heart Foundation has pointed out that there is just one solitary reference in the wellbeing policy to the importance of healthy eating in schools. It is contained under Key Area 1 of the document entitled ‘Culture and Environment, which states, “The school environment is conducive to promoting healthy eating choices.”

Kathryn Reilly, Policy Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation pointed out that there was no reference in the document to the need for schools to ensure that the food that students brought to school, or the food that was sold in schools was healthy.

While the wellbeing framework lists the policies that all post primary schools should have in place, which includes policies on important issues such as the acceptable use of ICT, anti-bullying and child protection, there is no mention of a healthy eating policy.

According to Ms Reilly, “The Irish Heart Foundation believes that a national standard for food provision should be developed and that all schools should have a healthy eating policy in written form, as is the norm at primary level. Indeed, it is important to acknowledge that healthy eating has become the norm in primary school with great effort placed on this. However, the benefits of this are being lost when children progress to secondary school where they are met with a wide range of unhealthy choices. “

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advocacy healthy eating Obesity schools

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