Monday, 25 July 2016, 9:32 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman Minister of Health
25 July 2016
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says this year’s expansion of the Fruit in Schools programme is seeing a record volume of fresh produce delivered to 547 schools across the country, benefitting more than 100,000 students.
"Healthy eating helps fuel the body and the brain, that’s why the Fruit in Schools programme is so beneficial to students," says Dr Coleman.
“Fruit in Schools complements the Childhood Obesity Plan. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.”
Following the Ministry of Education’s decile funding changes, all existing schools have remained in the Fruit in Schools programme, with an additional 77 others eligible to participate.
As a result, a total of 547 schools will benefit from the programme this year, covering around 102,870 students. So far this year over 11 million pieces of produced have been served up to kids in schools across the country.
Schools receive high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables, and they sample up to 24 different types of fruit or vegetables during the year.
Feedback from school principals taking part in the programme has been overwhelming positive. The following comments are from a recent survey.
“They enjoy trying the different fruit and vegetables they haven't experienced before. At the start, they'd look at something and say 'no.' Now they're prepared to give it a try, and parents tell us it’s the same at home,” says Bruce Young, Holy Cross School, Papatoetoe.
“It’s absolutely brilliant – we have the fruit out every day, in all the classrooms. Our kids have healthy food whenever they want to eat it. They're healthy kids who're more alert and have more energy. Health is part of our school,” says Chris Dibben, Tawhero School, Whanganui.
“Our kids enjoy eating it - they also love it in fruit kebabs, in sponges and in crumbles. Even in learning about quarters and halves for maths! Our teachers are very good at using the fruit across the whole school,” says Chicky Rudkin, Kaikohe East School.
The Government invests $7.8 million into the Fruit in Schools programme each year. This is being supported by the extra $568 million going into Health for 2016/17 – taking the total Health spend to a record $16.1 billion.