07 March 2022
Healthy eating programme, Food Dudes, is taking place in St Luke's and Janvrin primary schools from today, with further primary schools to follow later in the spring. This follows a pilot scheme that took place in 2019.
The programme is part of a wider initiative in Jersey to support schools in implementing a 'whole-school food approach'. This is recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) to engage all parts of the school community in improving the health and wellbeing of children.
Last week, the schools were assessed as part of a collection phase to see children's current food consumption habits. From today, the schools will receive a delivery of fruit and vegetables each morning, play videos from the 'Food Dudes' to teach children about healthy eating, and start a rewards scheme to develop a positive association to healthy eating. This will then followed by a 'maintenance phase' with lower-level activity.
The programme has already been delivered in thousands of schools across the UK, and behavioural science evidence shows that it is successful and sustainable in modifying children's behaviour and attitudes towards fruit and vegetables.
Alongside this, the Family Food and Fitness (FFF) programme will continue. This free programme encourages families to make positive changes to their eating and activity routines, and helps primary school aged children grow into a healthier weight.
The FFF sessions involve cooking nutritionally balanced meals and taking part in physical activities, which are run by Public Health Registered Dietitians and Jersey Sport.
Families can sign up to FFF for free online and will then be supported by a Public Health Dietitian who will advise whether the programme is appropriate for them. The rolling programme runs every 8 weeks.
Minister for Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: "Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of children who are becoming what is considered overweight or obese during their development in primary school from reception to year six.
"Evidence based programmes, such as Food Dudes, which has a strong body of research demonstrating the difference it makes, is an excellent way to make teaching children about healthy eating more fun and exciting."
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "In Jersey, only one in four children eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables per day. Encouraging behavioural changes to help children form positive dietary habits, not only improves educational outcomes, but also helps support children through their development into adulthood so that they form long-term behaviors, which ultimately reduces some of the most common preventable diseases.
"Eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease later in life."