Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says over 104,000 students will benefit from the Fruit in Schools programme as kids settle back into school.
“We're continuing to get overwhelmingly positive feedback from schools about the success of our Fruit in Schools programme," says Dr Coleman.
“This includes schools who've been with the programme since it started and also those who came in last year - they tell us that the healthy eating options are helping their kids in both their work, and also at play.
“It's great to see a programme like Fruit in Schools making a real difference to the health and well-being of Kiwi kids.
“Fruit in Schools complements the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.”
This year 543 schools will take part in Fruit in Schools, which sees high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables delivered each week. Up to 24 different types of fruits and vegetables are on the menu throughout the country and more than 20 million servings of produce will be dished up over the year.
Both staff and students can sample the produce, with adults taking a lead in showing kids how to enjoy tastes they might not have experienced previously. Many of the schools also use the programme as a support for maths.
The Government invests about $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.
Recent feedback from schools taking part in the programme includes:
“It's always a pleasure to have plenty of fruit in our classrooms. It promotes healthy eating habits among our students. Healthy Eating is a school wide goal and availability of fruit in the classrooms contributes a lot to that.” Kathy Dooley, Principal, Mt Richmond School (Special School), Auckland.
“Our kura is a decile 1 school on the east coast, an hour up from Gisborne. We have 26 kids and every day our teacher aide cuts and prepares a platter of fruit to go into our two classes before morning tea and they absolutely devour the fruit we receive. It's as much a part of their day as their reading.” Murray Hawke, Principal, Hatea-A-Rangi, Gisborne.
“We have only positive feedback to provide. Our fruit arrives efficiently every Monday morning. Thank you so much for your amazing service – we really do appreciate it.” Robyn Brider, Principal, Orautoha School, Whanganui.