29/09/2005

Fatty foods to be binned at NI schools

Education Minister Angela Smith has confirmed that a ban on fatty foods is to be introduced in schools across Northern Ireland.

The decision comes a day after similar measures were announced for England and Wales.

Although it is still unclear when the ban will be introduced it will be targeted at school meals and vending machines.

"There is clear evidence children who eat well will learn better," the Minister said.

"While parents have the primary responsibility for shaping the eating habits of their children, I recognise the role schools can play in supporting parents and promoting healthy choices."

On Wednesday, leading health charity, the NI Chest Heart & Stroke Association (NICHSA), called on the Minister to target the move in England and Wales which was announced at this year's Labour party conference in Brighton.

"It is sad that Government has taken more than 10 years to respond to robust research in the area of school nutrition," NICHSA chief executive Andrew Dougal said. "We are thankful that now the Prime Minister finally has taken note of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. He has demonstrated his commitment in the past, to tackling cardiovascular disease and now to ensure proper nutrition for children."

Recent research carried out in schools throughout Northern Ireland showed that for every portion of baked potato eaten, 20 portions of chips were served.

(MB/SP)

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