30 September 2019
Two pilot schemes are being launched this month to promote healthy eating among the Island’s children. These complement a range of initiatives that have been developed across government and community partners as part of the Government’s Food and Nutrition Strategy.
Food Dudes, a programme proven to be effective across hundreds of primary schools in encouraging children to eat more fruit and vegetables, got underway on Monday, 30 September. St Saviour, Grand Vaux, Rouge Bouillon and First Tower Primary Schools are taking part in the pilot, which has benefitted more than 700,000 children across the UK, Europe and the US. The programme increases the amount of fruits and vegetables that children eat through trying and developing new tastes, which is encouraged by the ‘Food Dudes’ cartoon characters and receiving small rewards.
Meanwhile, a Family Healthy Lifestyle programme was also launched on Monday, 30 September. The eight-week course is open to all families with children in Years 1-3 at Plat Douet and Springfield Primary Schools. It is delivered by registered dietitians and Jersey Sport, to ensure a holistic approach to healthy lifestyle changes. Each family that takes part will be invited to eight sessions focused on nutrition, exercise and cooking skills, as well as fun physical activity events.
Other Food and Nutrition Strategy initiatives designed to reduce diet-related disease and obesity in Jersey focus on ensuring nutritionally balanced school meals provision. These include the Government of Jersey’s two-year trial project, in partnership with Caring Cooks, to provide children with nutritionally balanced lunches at Samarès and Janvrin schools and changes for students at Hautlieu, De La Salle Primary School, FCJ Primary School, Victoria College, Grainville School, De La Salle College, Les Quennevais School and Haute Vallée School, who, from the start of the new school year, are being offered a healthier school meal menu.
Martin Knight, Director of Public Health Policy, said: "Our local data shows that 1 in 3 children in Year 6 are classed as overweight or obese. We need to do all we can to promote healthy eating and to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables, as this is known to reduce the risks of a variety of diseases in later-life, such as cancer and heart disease. We know that intervening early in a child’s life has the most chance of forming positive dietary habits that are continued into adulthood."