Healthy competition in schools

TWO Suffolk schools have received national recognition for helping pupils lead a healthier lifestyle.Nacton Primary and Stowmarket Middle have been placed on a shortlist of only 20 throughout the UK in with a chance of scooping the McDougall's Healthiest School Food Award, which rewards schools for implementing a wide-ranging approach to healthy eating.

TWO Suffolk schools have received national recognition for helping pupils lead a healthier lifestyle.

Nacton Primary and Stowmarket Middle have been placed on a shortlist of only 20 throughout the UK in with a chance of scooping the McDougall's Healthiest School Food Award, which rewards schools for implementing a wide-ranging approach to healthy eating.

With the obesity epidemic a major concern and in the wake of Jamie Oliver's crusade against fatty school dinners, pupils' healthy eating has never been more important.

Each school was challenged with the task of impressing the judges with examples of how they have improved the quality of food available, methods of communicating this to the children, and measures taken to integrate healthy eating into the curriculum.

Emma Cook, food technology teacher at Stowmarket Middle School, said pupils were receiving a holistic approach to becoming healthier.

She said: “We are already nationally recognised for being one of the first schools to be given the healthy schools award and we are again being recognised for the changes we are making.

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“We have changed the food in the canteen to include more fruit and vegetables and healthy options.

“Initially the children were a little bemused by it all but gradually numbers taking up school meals are increasing. And we have the support of parents too, who provide lunch boxes which now include a piece of fruit.”

Ken Campbell, one of the competition judges, said: “We were really impressed with how schools are involving parents and pupils, dieticians and local chefs to help spread the healthy eating message.

“And what's more, schools are finding new and innovative ways to educate children on the importance of a healthy lifestyle through subjects as diverse as science, PHSE, IT, design and technology and home economics, as well as in assemblies and at breakfast and after school clubs.”

Nacton and Stowmarket, along with the other 18 short listed schools will now submit an example of a week's menu cycle for analysis by a panel of expert nutritionists.

The top three will undergo a site visit by the judges and will be invited to the ASSIST AGM in Scotland in April 2007, where the winner of each category will be announced before the overall winner is awarded the McDougall's Healthiest School Food Award 2007.

n. Do you think your school is doing enough for healthy eating? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblink: www.rhmfoodservice.co.uk

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