Call for snack ban in schools13th May 2008
Researchers at Cardiff University have said imposing a total ban on "unhealthy snacks" is the optimal solution to ensure children eat healthy food.
A team from the Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics spent a year examining how nine to 11-year old pupils ate snacks at 43 primary schools in poorer areas of south Wales and south west England.
As part of the study, funded by the Food Standards Agency, 23 schools began "fruit tuck shops" and sold fruit. The schools stopped providing foods such as chocolate and crisps.
During the course of the study, pupils bought 70,000 pieces of fruit. This works out at a ratio of "0.06 pieces of fruit per student per day".
At the study's conclusion, the researchers gave pupils a survey to find out the amount of fruit and snacks they had consumed on the previous day. The survey also asked how much fruit the pupils and their peers ate on a regular basis.
The study revealed that opening the fruit tuck shops had only a "limited impact" on how much fruit the pupils consumed.
They found pupils ate significantly more healthy food in those schools which had banned junk food.
Pupils at schools which had only fruit available consumed "0.37 more portions of fruit" on a daily basis than the schools which did not provide a fruit shop.
Professor Laurence Moore, from the Cardiff Institute, said the study's result proved that children were more likely to eat fruit "if they and their friends are not allow to take in unhealthy snacks."
"This highlights the importance of friends' behaviour and of peer modelling, and of the need for schools to put policies in place to back up health interventions."
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Title: Call for snack ban in schools
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 6729
Date Added: 13th May 2008