Primary and secondary students in Barbados will soon have new wholesome and nutritious menu options from which to choose, when the National School Nutrition Policy takes effect in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, made the announcement today, while delivering remarks at an online workshop for media personnel, hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, in association with the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM), and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator.
The topic was Building Back Better: Implementing School Food Nutrition Policy in Barbados Post-COVID.
The policy was being created through consultation with the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Pan American Health Organisation, and other stakeholders.
According to Mrs. Adamson, it will focus on three main areas: review of the menus of the School Meals Department; emphasis on health and physical activity in schools, and informing students how to prepare wholesome meals.
She disclosed that the National Nutrition Centre had been reviewing the menus of the School Meals Department with the aim of creating healthy meals that were appealing to school-aged children. Additionally, they will also be pushing ahead to reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages in schools.
Expressing concern about the lack of inactivity among school-aged children, and the excessive consumption of sugar, sodium and fat, the Acting Chief Education Officer stressed that there was need to ensure children had access to healthy meals, highlighting the correlation between one’s health and ability to retain knowledge, as well as the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in this demographic.
The two-hour interactive session also featured presentations from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, BARJAM, the Chronic Disease Research Centre and the Barbados Childhood Obesity Coalition.