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2 million benefit from free fruit initiative

Nearly two million children are now receiving a free piece of fruit or a vegetable every school day, the government has announced.

Public health minister Melanie Johnson said the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is the biggest programme to support children's nutrition since the introduction of free school milk in 1946.

The scheme is part of a government drive to tackle soaring levels of childhood obesity and diet-related disease.

The health minister has also unveiled a pack of materials for schools that includes finger puppets, story books, songs and a CD, aimed at helping teachers make fruit and vegetables fun for children and encourage healthy diets.

Ms Johnson said: "It's so important that children eat plenty of fruit and vegetables every day. And that is why I am pleased to say that we have now met our target for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme - reaching nearly two million of the youngest children across the country.

"The pack of materials that I am launching today is designed to get children thinking about the food they eat by making it fun and part of their normal school day routine.

"The hope is that the message will spread from school to home and there is already evidence it is changing eating habits at home."

Press release

www.gnn.gov.uk


Department of Health (National)
MILLIONS OF CHILDREN RECEVING FREE FRUIT AND VEG

Nearly two million children in thousands of schools across the country are now receiving a free piece of fruit or a vegetable every school day, Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson announced today.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is the biggest programme to support children's nutrition since the introduction of free school milk in 1946 and forms part of the Government's drive to cut levels of child obesity.

Also launched today by the Public Health Minister is a pack of materials for schools - including finger puppets, story books, songs and a CD - offering advice to teachers on how to make fruit and vegetables fun for kids and encourage healthy diets.

Launching the new initiative, Melanie Johnson said:

"It's so important that children eat plenty of fruit and vegetables every day. And that is why I am pleased to say that we have now met our target for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme - reaching nearly two million of the youngest children across the country.

"The pack of materials that I am launching today is designed to get children thinking about the food they eat by making it fun and part of their normal school day routine. The hope is that the message will spread from school to home and there is already evidence it is changing eating habits at home.

"I hope these extra resources will give teachers some new ideas of encouraging children to try new foods - whether it's through the healthy character finger puppets and the big 'Grub' story book or asking them to join in and sing along to the fruit and veg CD."

The aim of the new materials is help teachers see the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme as part of the wider curriculum, and to help integrate healthy eating into the whole school day. A booklet, included in the pack, gives teachers guidance on how to set up fruit tuck shops, cooking clubs and health focus weeks at school.

Leaflets for parents are also available - helping to take the messages on healthy diets from the classroom to the family home. The pack also gives teachers ideas on how to get parents and carers involved with extra-curricular activities that encourage healthy eating.

Notes to Editors
1. The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS) is part of the 5 A DAY programme to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

2. Under the Scheme, all four to six year old children in Local Education Authority maintained infant, primary and special schools will be entitled to a free piece of fruit or a vegetable each school day.

3. The SFVS has now been rolled out across the country to 15,602 schools meaning that nearly 2 million children are receiving a free piece of fruit or a vegetable each school day.

4. A key theme from the Choosing Health White Paper is improving children's diet and nutrition. The SFVS materials support a whole school approach to healthy eating - cross-referencing with the Healthy Living Blueprint and the Food in Schools programme. These materials will contribute to the delivery of the PSA target on childhod obesity.

5. All packs will be sent to schools participating in the scheme by early January 2005.

6. Leaflets for parents are available in 15 different languages

7. The pack of support materials for the scheme includes:

CURRICULUM MATERIALS:
A Foundation Stage curriculum pack including;

- four A4, colour scenario cards illustrating experiences that are familiar to the pupils. Questions are provided on the reverse to prompt discussion and learning.
- a teachers' booklet for Foundation Stage with suggested activities linked to the scenario cards and teachers' notes
- five character-based finger puppets. These characters feature in the scenario cards and the main characters, Tom and Jamila, feature in the Key Stage 1 big storybook and posters.
A Key Stage 1 curriculum pack including;
- an A2 big storybook, 'Grub'
- a teachers' booklet for Key Stage 1 with suggested activities, literacy links to the big storybook, and teachers' notes
- Two A2 colour posters illustrating a range of fruits and vegetables, suitable for use in and out of the classroom

MATERIALS FOR WHOLE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
- School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme - a whole school approach. This booklet provides guidance on integrating the scheme into the whole school day with activities such as fruit tuck shops, growing clubs, cooking clubs and health focus weeks
- Two A2 colour 5 A DAY reminder posters for use around the school
- A CD and booklet containing eight songs about fruit and vegetables and healthy eating for use in and out of the classroom, for example in assemblies
- Six A3 posters illustrating various stages of the life cycle of some of the fruits and vegetables provided as part of the scheme.

 

 

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