Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@cfair.ca.

Does back to school mean more children are eating poorly?

Dietitian talks about back-to-school lunches

The old adage an apple a day keeps the doctor away seems to be something we might pay more attention to these days.

Not only does that apple contribute to health it also feeds our minds and ability to focus and learn. A new study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism that was conducted at the University of British Columbia highlights that Canadians are not eating enough good food at school to meet their dietary requirement of vitamins and minerals.

Researchers also found that during school, students were eating less nutritious foods and more sweet drinks, salty snacks and candy.

The study is troublesome for dietitians like Abby Langer. She says that children “can suffer from a decreased ability to learn and concentrate, focus. Their behavior can suffer if they are not adequately nourished both by not eating enough food and by (not) eating healthy food or the right types of food.”

Here in the Capital Region the last Adolescent Health Survey that was conducted in 2013 found that only 34 per cent of students in Grades 7 to 12 reported eating vegetables and fruit only once or twice the day before which is less than half of the recommended daily intake by the Canada Food Guide. We know that children need good nutrition to be able to focus, and have better learning outcomes, so what can be done to support this?

Perhaps one of the greatest ways we can impact children’s nutrition is good modeling.

If our kids see healthy eating habits by parents this can help to shape their habits too. Another aspect is to involve children in meal planning and in the purchase or growing of food, and in its preparation.

It may seem like a real challenge among all the other things involved in getting into the back to school routine, however having kids participate in packing their lunches may result in eating better during the day.

There are also concrete things we can do, and are being done, in schools to promote healthy eating. Activities like Farm to School BC, the BC Fruit and Vegetable Program, and using healthy vending machine guidelines and practices are some approaches in play.

Langer also believes that having a universal school lunch program would be impactful.

“We definitely need a national school lunch program,” Langer said. “We’re the only G8 country that does not have one. I think that it would really positively impact our kids’ nutrition and, further to that, their learning.”

One of the things that I have also heard from parents and a teacher alike, is to provide more of an emphasis on kids sitting down and eating their lunches together with sufficient time to eat.

Whatever we do, making an emphasis on enjoying good food during the school day as part of the learning experience will benefit our kids.

The research confirms it, let’s do what we can to create healthy eating environment in schools.

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@cfair.ca.

Just Posted

Former Green candidate Veronica Greer running for seat on Esquimalt council

2017 B.C. election hopeful looks to bring LGBTQ lens to municipal politics

Green Team tackles weeds in North Saanich

Greater Victoria group working to connect people with local green groups

Sooke to host Western Canada’s first all-female boxing card

58 fighters from across North America to be featured at April 28 and 29 event

First Nation acknowledgement added to Sooke council agendas

‘It seems like something long overdue,’ says mayor

UPDATE: Two rescued after falling from ferry at Swartz Bay

One crew member is injured after rescue boat mechanism fails, causing it to fall from the ferry

New play examines Indigenous identity

Belfry Theatres Salt Baby coming to Victoria April 17 - May 13

Builder of Kinder Morgan reinforces concerns over project

B.C. heads to court over pipeline jurisdiction as builder says doubt warranted

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare program, but cost an issue

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she fears costs could be far higher than $19 billion

Canada’s oldest blood donor says it’s all gain, no pain after decades of giving

Great-grandmother and Coquitlam, B.C., resident has been donating blood since the late 1940s

Union says Trump bullying threatens hundreds of B.C. pulp mill jobs

Fear mounts that new U.S. anti-dumping duties could price Catalyst mills out of business

B.C. real estate regulator to undergo NDP review

B.C. real estate agents were self-regulated until 2016, when BC Liberals appointed superintendent

B.C. pizza shop broken into 4 times in 2 weeks

A Vernon business owner is beginning to feel targeted

Man accused of Abbotsford school stabbing hearing voices, intensely paranoid

Lawyer says Gabriel Klein not fit to stand trial in May because of deteriorating mental state

Most Read