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Pupils shun healthy options

3rd September 2007

Figures have shown that many pupils shun healthy school meals and 250,000 fewer meals are provided in secondary schools.

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The statistics were prompted by a parliamentary question and reveal that the recent campaign for healthy school meals has not been welcomed by all pupils.

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the change and said the school meal service was "in meltdown".

TV chef Jamie Oliver, who was a driving force behind the campaign said: "We have to keep supporting it. We have to know and do what's best for our kids."

Schools Minister Lord Adonis, said that a fall in consumption was inevitable.

"When you are withdrawing [unhealthy food] then clearly there is going to be an immediate transitional issue," he said.

However a study by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) said the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS), means many more children now eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

The NFER looked at the food diaries of around 3,600 children in the North of England and compared fruit and vegetable intake in the years 2004 and 2006.

32% of children ate five portions of fruit and vegetables in 2004, in contrast to 44% of children in 2006.

The researchers stated that the biggest rise was in the consumption of vegetables, particularly at lunchtime, which they said: "may indicate that changes in school meals had a greater impact".

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said the results were "excellent news".




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