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Health Choices in Schools
Minister of Health launching tools for healthy food choices
Making it easier to make healthy choices Minister of Health Pete Hodgson launched tools to help schools to make healthy food choices at Massey High School in West Auckland today. The Food and Beverage Classification System resources will support schools and Early Childhood Education Services (ECE) to make healthy choices when it comes to selecting food and drinks for children. "We must act now to improve the diets and physical activity levels of young New Zealanders, otherwise in 20 years time, this country will be facing a diabetes and cardiovascular disease epidemic and the damage will be irreversible. This Labour-led Government has committed millions of dollars to improving food and physical activity environments in schools, “Encouraging healthy food choices early in life can help create lifelong preferences for healthy food. Currently, about a quarter of the sugar in our children's daily diets comes from fizzy drinks and nearly as much comes from sweets, “Pete Hodgson said. “Many schools and ECE centres are already well advanced in their determination to help our kids to be healthy. Massey High School is one example of this. After implementing the Waitemata DHB Beverage Classification Guidelines, the school removed 400 kilograms of sugar per month, by removing full sugar fizzy and energy drinks.” The Food and Beverage Classification System groups foods into three main categories; for consumption everyday, sometimes and occasionally. Food and drinks in the everyday category are the healthiest choices and these should be encouraged and promoted. Pete Hodgson says the Classification System is not about banning foods like pies. "In fact, the health sector has been working very closely with the pie industry to encourage them to reformulate their pies and many companies are doing this right now to ensure their products can be included in the 'sometimes' category of the Classification System," he says.