Nearly 100 EatSmart Schools promote healthy eating among students (with photos)
At the EatSmart School Accreditation Ceremony 2017 cum Healthy Eating Forum held today (July 4), the Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan, said that about 40 per cent of all primary and special schools in Hong Kong, i.e. more than 250 schools, had enrolled in the ESAS, and of them 123 had attained accreditation and 99 achieved the highest honour of EatSmart School. She said the support of the education sector towards the ESAS is encouraging.
The school accreditation is valid for three years. This year nine schools achieved EatSmart School accreditation for the third consecutive time, and were presented with the Award for Continuous Promotion of Healthy Eating at School today in commendation of their commitment in implementing a healthy eating policy and helping students to develop a healthy eating habit. According to the accreditation criteria of the ESAS, accredited schools have to demonstrate a commitment to continuously implementing administrative measures, providing healthy lunches and snacks in accordance with the nutritional requirements stipulated in the "Nutritional Guidelines on Lunch for Students" and the "Nutritional Guidelines on Snacks for Students" of the DH, and organising educational programmes and publicity events to create a nutrition-friendly school learning environment for the students.
Dr Chan praised all the accredited schools as exemplars of the education sector. In addition, she said she was grateful for the participation and support of the principals, teachers, parents and students of each school, as well as the co-operation of food suppliers, to help nurture a nutrition-friendly environment for learning and living on campus. She also expressed her gratitude for the long-term support and guidance of the EDB and members of the EatSmart@school.hk Campaign Steering Committee.
According to Dr Chan, the overweight and obesity rates of primary school students in Hong Kong dropped from 22.2 per cent in the school year 2009/10 to 18 per cent in the school year 2015/16. However, it is worth noting that the lunchboxes for junior primary school students are yet to meet all nutritional recommendations as revealed in the results of the Nutrient Testing of School Lunch in Primary Schools in Hong Kong 2013 conducted by the DH. The sodium content in 99 per cent of the tested lunchboxes exceeded the recommended intake for a meal, and some samples even exceeded the recommended daily intake. Having too much salt increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, which in turn leads to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or strokes. This suggests that excessive salt intake among school students remains a concern requiring special attention.
Dr Chan appealed to all school lunch suppliers, schools, teachers, parents and students to work together to reduce the sodium intake of school students to lay a solid foundation for the long-term health of the students. As advocated by the Working Group on Promoting Healthy School Lunch established by the DH, some school lunch suppliers joined the Pilot Project on Sodium Reduction in School Lunch Boxes conducted from September to December 2016, which demonstrated the feasibility of gradually reducing sodium in school lunch boxes. In this regard, the Project on Sodium Reduction in School Lunch Boxes will be launched in the 2017/18 school year with an aim of reducing the sodium level of school lunch boxes gradually. Details will be announced in due course.
Also officiating at the ceremony, the Principal Assistant Secretary (Curriculum Development) of the EDB, Mr Sheridan Lee, said the EDB has always attached great importance to the students' healthy physical and mental development. Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the learning goals of curriculum reform. The EDB updated in 2014 the "Basic Education Curriculum Guide - To Sustain, Deepen and Focus on Learning to Learn (Primary 1 - 6)", which reiterates the importance of balanced development in students' learning and their physical and mental health.
Mr Lee appealed to principals and teachers to carry on upholding the spirit of whole-person development as they continue to take part in the ESAS along with joint efforts from parents and other stakeholders, so as to provide for students rich and diversified experiences and help them lead a healthy lifestyle, realise their potential and take on a lifelong journey of healthy living.
More information on the ESAS is available at the DH's thematic website (school.eatsmart.gov.hk).
Ends/Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:30
Issued at HKT 17:30