Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Fruit in Schools programme will be expanded to include an extra 77 schools, benefiting an additional 13,000 students.
"Healthy eating helps fuel the body and the brain, that’s why the Fruit in Schools programme is so beneficial to students," says Dr Coleman.
“Following the Ministry of Education’s decile funding changes, I have decided to retain the schools in the programme who moved above decile 2. As a result, a total of 557 schools will benefit from the programme next year, covering over 110,000 students.
“The Government currently invests over $6.6 million a year in Fruit in Schools. With the additional schools participating next year, around $7.8 million a year will now be invested in the programme.
“Fruit in Schools complements the Childhood Obesity Plan. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.”
Schools receive high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables, and they sample up to 33 different types of fruit or vegetable during the year.
Almost 20 million pieces of fruit and veggies were served up this year. 480 decile 1 and 2 primary and intermediate schools, covering over 97,000 students, currently take part in the programme.
It is anticipated that the new schools will start receiving fruit from the beginning of the second term of 2016.
An external evaluation of the programme undertaken on behalf of 5+ A Day Charitable Trust shows good results. Schools reported improved dental outcomes, a reduction in general sores, an increase in overall healthy eating behaviours and an increase in student concentration.
The evaluation can be found here: http://www.unitedfresh.co.nz/our-work/fruit-in-schools