New research shows the Fruit In Schools programme, managed by United Fresh, is having a positive impact on children and nutrition.
Although named Fruit in Schools, the programme includes fresh New Zealand vegetables as well.
An independent evaluation has found Fruit In Schools is highly valued by principals and is well aligned with international evidence on how to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in children.
Students at 480 low-decile primary and intermediate schools nationwide benefit from the programme, with around 20 million servings of fresh produce being distributed during the academic year.
Many of the principals said Fruit In Schools was making a valuable contribution to academic outcomes. Seventy-four percent said they had seen increased concentration in class as a result of Fruit in Schools, while 46 percent reported fewer behaviour problems. Other positives included:
The positive impact of Fruit In Schools is also being felt beyond the classroom. Principals said it was having a positive impact on the children’s home environment and parental behaviours, with 44 percent saying that “many families” were providing less sugary drinks and junk food in school lunches.
The survey results show Fruit In Schools is a very effective way to promote positive attitudes towards eating 5+ A Day. Principals and Health Promoting Schools facilitators are strong advocates of the programme because of the wide range of benefits. One facilitator said: “I think it’s the best thing they ever did…Because when you see how that one piece of fruit a day has changed the outlook of all these young people, you cannot be anything but eternally grateful for that to have happened.”
This is great news for United Fresh members as we continue to manage this highly successful programme and promote the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables.