Sugary drinks ban at primary schools proposed

Source: 1News

Sugary drinks could be banned at primary schools if a Government proposal is adopted.

A can of fizzy drink being opened.

It would mean students in Year 1-8 would only be allowed to drink water, milk and plant-based milks.

The Ministry of Education is now asking schools, kura, whānau and health professionals to have their say on the proposal.

"We know that if kids eat and drink well, there are a myriad of benefits and good outcomes for learning," said Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

He said research shows dental decay is now the most common disease reported among Kiwi children.

Rates of obesity among children also increased significantly between September 2020 and August 2021, Hipkins said.

To make matters worse, sugary drinks account for more than a quarter of children's sugar intake in Aotearoa.

"Promoting healthy food and drink in schools is common practice in other OECD countries. Evidence also shows the earlier in a child's development that healthy habits can be encouraged, the better..

"The initial proposal is for healthy drinks in primary schools. However the Government is also considering a similar policy in secondary schools."

Hipkins said the Government and Education Ministry want feedback about what any barriers to introduction might be.

He noted some schools already have healthy drinks policies in place.

The consultation is open for eight weeks and closes on June 2.