Minister for Education and Training Dr Chris Bourke today launched the inaugural ACT School Canteens Expo at the Chifley Health and Wellbeing Hub.
Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, one of Australia's most renowned nutritionists, was the guest speaker at the expo and spoke to canteen managers and staff about children's health and the role canteens can play in contributing to a culture which supports healthy choices for school aged children.
Dr Stanton said "I commend the many school canteens in Canberra that are working with Nutrition Australia ACT. Canteens are making many positive and innovative changes and delivering a great range of healthy options.
"Nutrition Australia ACT has provided support to over 60 school canteens to date as part of Healthy Food@School program. Canteen staff have also asked for support in developing financially viable models for operating canteens into the future. This is how the idea of a School Canteens Expo originated," Dr Stanton said.
Dr Bourke said, "The feedback I get as Education Minister, visiting schools and talking to parents, teachers and my directorate, is that small business training for running a canteen and staffing are some of the most pressing issues. Healthy Food@School is addressing these issues in the support they provide.
"The Education Directorate is also assisting canteens to look to the future through the new Canteens Taskforce made up of Nutrition Australia, Health Directorate, the P & C Council, the ACT Catholic Education Office and the ACT School Canteen Association.
"Good nutrition leads to better social and emotional wellbeing, healthier students and better educational outcomes. It has benefits lasting a lifetime.
"Today is a great opportunity for canteen staff to connect with each other and to share their experiences and ideas" Dr Bourke said.
The Healthy Food@School project is now expanding into other parts of school life. While continuing the canteen support, Healthy Food@School is working with community and business partners to support schools to create positive food and drink cultures in areas such as: classroom learning; after school care; breakfast programs; garden to table; Healthy Food@School policies; fundraising; canteens; food from home; and classroom rewards.
15 schools will participate in the expanded Healthy Food@School program over the next 12 months.
The aim is to improve children's health and create lasting culture change. It is very concerning that currently only 22 per cent of young people aged 12 to 17 are eating the minimum five daily serves of vegetables and under 42 per cent the two minimum daily serves of fruit.
The School Canteens Expo is coordinated by Nutrition Australia ACT as part of the Healthy Food@School Project delivered by the ACT Government, Health Promotion Branch.
- Statement ends -
Section: Dr Chris Bourke, MLA | Media Releases
02 6207 5140
0478 489 445