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How the EU will help children to learn about healthy eating?

Healthy eating

Children are eating fewer and fewer fruit, vegetables and dairy products in Europe, but a new proposal could help them to adopt a healthier diet. Under the plan two existing EU schemes for handing out fresh milk, fruit and vegetables to pupils would be combined, reducing the administrative burden and creating more opportunities for teaching children about balanced diets.
Ibercampus 27/5/2015 Send to a friend
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Members of the European Parliament debated the plans during the plenary session on Wednesday 27 May. Belgian S&D member Marc Tarabella, who is responsible for steering the plans through Parliament, said it was essential to teach children about healthy and balanced diets from an early age. He also pointed out the milk and fruit schemes gave the right example by including local produce: "These are products that we can obtain locally, without having them go three times around the planet before they finish in our plates. I am happy that the Commission, and through it, the European Parliament, are in favour of this important report."

Launched in 1977, the School Milk Scheme benefits more than 20 million school children between the ages of six and ten every year all over the EU. At the same time nearly nine million children from 25 member states a year profit from the School Fruit Scheme since 2009.

It is up to member states to decide if they want to take part in the programmes. Under the new scheme they will have more flexibility to choose the products they wish to distribute and are also able tofocus more on teaching about what constitutes a healthy diet.

There are currently two separate EU-funded school distribution programmes under the EU´s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that specifically target children in schools: the School Milk Scheme (SMS), set up in 1977 and the School Fruit Scheme (SFS) set up in 2009/2010. Although there are differences in design and administration, the schemes basically aim at encouraging the consumption of fruit, vegetables and milk as these have proven benefits in terms of public health. The School Fruit Scheme in particular was set up in the context of poor nutrition and increasing rates of child obesity, and on the basis that good habits established in childhood continue in later life.

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