KINGSTON, Jamaica – A recent approval by the Cabinet of the National Nutrition Policy, will see Jamaica heading towards ensuring that only nutritious foods enter the school system.
According to a release, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, who made the disclosure, said the policy is now in its Green Paper stage, and it is going to “influence what is served in schools” for children.
“We are going to make sure that the foods that you eat in our schools are not going to make you sick early in your life. It is going to be a balanced meal,” the Minister said while addressing a recent Kiwanis Club of Eastern St Andrew, Child Month virtual forum.
He told his audience that eating fruits, reduction of sugary drinks, fewer fried foods, more vegetables and increased water consumption, are part of the mix that the policy requires for serving in schools.
“One of the things that we have found is that nutrition in our schools has created a lot of premature illnesses and developed bad habits. So, we start with that for our young people, and even before that, maternal health,” he said, underscoring that several programmes are in the public health system to support expectant mothers who need critical assistance.
The Minister emphasised that over the last two years, with funding from the European Union (EU), the Government has built out a number of infrastructures, including specialised units, to “give mothers better advice at the community level.
“And that nutrition policy is going to give you better things to consume, and our “Jamaica Moves in Schools” will ensure more physical activity to make you also physically healthy,” Dr Tufton said.
The National School Nutrition Policy was produced by the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Education and Youth in association with collaborating ministries and agencies. It is to guide the process for the provision of good nutrition coupled with wellness, especially for the most vulnerable students in the society.
The policy will seek to ensure that children entering educational facilities are exposed to good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.