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free fruit and veg

Almost two million children are receiving a daily serving of fruit or vegetable from the government’s national school food scheme. This scheme, which has been running for more than a decade, is a part of a wider government plan to tackle heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It is estimated to have cost the government PS29 million in 2004-05 and PS37 million in 2006-07.

School fruit and veg scheme

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, a government-funded initiative, will be back in UK schools in September. The scheme has been running for 16 years and has provided free fruit and vegetables to 2.3 million children. But, the programme has been suspended in recent months, causing a lot of controversy. While the government claimed the closures were necessary to stop food waste, there was little information about whether it plans to restart the scheme.

Impact on children’s eating habits

Various studies have demonstrated that children who were regularly given free fruit and veg as a child were more likely to eat them in adulthood. Interestingly, the same holds true for children who were often forced to clean their plates. Such children are at greater risk of being overweight or obese. These findings demonstrate how children’s eating habits shape their future lifestyles. In addition to being beneficial for their health, eating the right foods helps to maintain ideal weight.

Cost to schools

The government provides funding for schools to provide free fruit and vegetables to students. Funding is provided to schools based on the number of students in the school that participates in the program. For the 2022-2023 school year, the amount allocated per student is $50-54. Schools that serve two or more days per week will receive between $50 and $51 per student. Schools that serve fewer than two days per week will only receive $50 per student.

Health benefits

The benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables are numerous. Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase life span, boost cardiovascular health, lower risk of certain cancers, and even help manage weight. One study conducted in the USA found that women who ate more fruit and vegetables had a lower risk of obesity. Likewise, eating more vegetables can help control blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Moreover, the antioxidant and phytonutrient content of these vegetables helps in reducing inflammation.

Efficacy

Efficacy measures measure self-efficacy, including cooking and consuming fruits and vegetables. The research focuses on Brazilian university students. This study looked at the relationship between self-efficacy and lifestyle and sociodemographic characteristics. For example, students who reported that they have a hard time cooking tended to have lower self-efficacy scores than those who were more confident about their cooking skills.

Case studies

Research has shown that children in richer communities are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables than their peers. This may be because children in wealthy environments are exposed to a wider variety of foods and may develop preferences for them. In contrast, children in poorer backgrounds may be restricted to eating certain kinds of foods, including fruit. Even if they do eat more fruit and veg than children from high-SEP households, this may be counterproductive.

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