Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton says the draft National Nutrition Policy for schools has been completed and will be brought to Cabinet shortly for deliberations.
The policy, which is being developed in collaboration with the education, youth and information ministry, aims to promote healthy eating and physical activity among students.
“Once finalised, it will become, essentially, the guide for schools to work with those who provide meals to be able to provide a range of options for students so they are not locked into a daily diet of excessive salts, sugars, fats and other things that may become a problem,” he noted.
Tufton was addressing the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s 18th Annual Education Conference on April 25 at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in St James.
Meanwhile, he noted the “overwhelming support”at the school level for the recently launched campaign against sugary drinks.
“I want to thank the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the teachers who manage the schools for responding so overwhelmingly to the evidence that suggests that too many of our children are drinking themselves sick because of the over-concentration of sugary drinks,” Tufton said.
He said the “strong partnership” between the ministries will continue in order to promote wellness, improve the nutritional status of children and support their long-term physical and psychosocial development.
“So the idea of wellness is going to mean regularising physical education right through the cohorts and ensuring that our children go outside and play. I know the Ministry of Education is working on putting that in place so that [children] see physical activity as a part of life that must become a habit, not something that they are forced to do but will mean better for them later on,” he pointed out.
Tufton encouraged teachers to equip students with the requisite knowledge to make better decisions regarding diet and physical activity.