PRESS RELEASE – The health and well-being of children around the island continues to be of major priority to the Ministry of Health and Wellness through its support of healthy eating at the schools.
Officials within the Ministry of Health and Wellness met recently in a workshop aimed at developing guidelines for the introduction of nutritional standards for school meals.
Participants were granted the opportunity to share ideas about ways to ensure that students are provided with a healthy and balanced choice of meal on a daily basis.
Chief Nutritionist Lisa Hunt-Mitchell says healthy food choices at the schools should be made a priority as a means of dealing with the problem of childhood obesity.
According to her, “There is a big problem with childhood obesity with St. Lucia, as well as around the world, because children spend so much time at schools.
“We want to ensure that the school environment is one that supports healthy eating and so these standards will serve as guide as to what is acceptable at schools in St. Lucia.
“This is actually part of a bigger picture because we would like to develop a nutrition policy for all schools in St. Lucia, starting from daycare, because we know some of the foods that are parents actually put in the bags for the children are very unhealthy and can contribute to childhood obesity.”
Hunt-Mitchell says with the continued support and dialogue, it is hoped that measures will be put in place to ensure the provision of nutritious food for all children.
She says, “We know that obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and so we will like to reverse that trend by making sure the foods available, whether it is served at the schools or around the schools or at the school canteens that they are healthy for the school children.”
The Ministry of Health will continue to undertake a series of workshops, monitoring assessments and awareness campaigns as a means of ensuring the implementation of nutrition sensitive school meals in Saint Lucia. (Ministry of Health)