ISLAMABAD, Sep 27 (APP):Medical experts while highlighting the poor habits of schoolchildren, Friday stressed that school administrations and teachers should promote healthy eating habits among students and to monitor food sold in cafeterias with low quality of items.
Talking to private news channel, General Physician and Child specialist Dr Javed Hassan calls on all school administrations to remove all unhealthy food from their school canteens, striving to regulate school nutrition in the country.
He added that it is important that parents, teachers and students work together to support a school culture in which pupils can choose nutritious and healthy foods.
He said concern authorities and school administrations should introduce regulations for running canteens and ensure the quality of edible items.
He said most of the edible items including chips, snacks, oil to fry samosas, and other items, are purchased by contractors in loose at cheaper rates so that they can double their profit by innocent students in all educational institutions.
Dr said cafeterias and shops near schools also needed to be monitored to ensure children do not purchase unhealthy food.
He stressed that there is a need to train and educate parents, and create an awareness campaign for them.
He advised parents who gave packed lunch to avoid giving the child pocket money, to cut the risk of them buying unhealthy food from other sources.
He said health of the children should be taken very seriously but unfortunately, the administrations of these schools do not take it seriously.
The situation is made worse by the fact that parents lack awareness on the issue, he added.
The nutrition level and the quality of every item sold in the canteens should be checked regularly by public health officers, he urged the authorities.
He suggested that in-house marketing of food items in schools should be regulated and the food and beverages served in school canteens meet certain nutritional requirements.
Replying a question, another nutritionist Dr Huma Baki said it is the responsibility of the school management to keep a check on the quality and standards of their canteen items.
Keeping our workplaces clean and working sincerely is up to us, she said adding, the government is not to be blamed. It is high time that they start accepting their mistakes and stop blaming others for their misconduct.
Schools are an ideal setting to teach students to practice healthy habits when it came to making food and beverage choices, she said. Dr Huma said teachers are in a good position to act as positive role models for students, parents and the community.
She said healthy lunches and snacks are particularly important for active children as there is limited time for children to eat during the day especially at school.
Eating healthy food helps them concentrate, learn and develop. However, healthy eating changes are not always easy, so it is best to start with the lunch box, she advised.