Fiji Time: 10:03 AM on Sunday 29 November

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Schools not complying with health rules

Atasa Moceituba
Monday, September 01, 2014

RESEARCH shows 84 per cent of schools in the Western Division do not comply with the Ministry of Health canteen guidelines.

And according to a survey, 16 per cent follow the canteen guidelines enforced by the ministry.

FNU Food and Nutrition lecturer Sumantla Varman said the research was developed and conducted by the Ministry of Health.

She said the policy was enforced in 2009 whereby schools were only allowed to sell healthy foods, fruits and refrain from unhealthy food and drinks.

In the survey, she said they wanted to find out whether the schools complied with the rules or not.

"The guideline clearly states that the schools are supposed to be selling healthy foods and drinks.

"These children's height and weight data is also recorded by the nurses and dietitians. We use that data to see the schools that comply and the schools that don't and we found that the schools that did not comply with the guideline had more students who were overweight compared to the ones that comply," Ms Varman said.

She said the survey began from schools in Sigatoka right to Vatukoula saying they also had plans to conduct similar surveys on schools all over Fiji.

Ministry of Education acting permanent secretary, Basundra Kumar, said the ministry was aware that some schools were not refraining from selling unhealthy foods.

She said they were regulating a new canteen policy which was still under review.

"This new canteen policy clearly states the kind of food school canteens supposed to sell.

"The sooner we get this policy approved the sooner it will be implemented," Ms Kumar said.

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