The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing rapidly worldwide, and South Africa was recently listed as one of the countries projected to have the highest number of children with obesity by 2025. Primary school years have been highlighted as a crucial time where the transition in Body Mass Index (BMI) towards obesity is common. Despite the multifactorial aetiology of childhood obesity, the ease of access to unhealthy food options compared the healthier options is a key contributing factor.
The World Health Organisation published a report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity in 2016, highlighting six key focus areas, two of which are the promotion of healthy food choices, and focusing on the health, nutrition and physical activity of school aged children.
The HSFSA Healthy Schools Programme is a voluntary programme and a free service offered to both primary and high schools. Schools are guided through the process of adapting their existing food offerings to provide healthier choices for their learners, while taking practicality and costs into account.
Currently 20 schools are registered on the programme across the country, although the majority are located in the Cape Metropole. Schools who ceased to participate were removed, and a few new schools joined in 2016/2017. Registered schools receive ongoing support, and are provided with nutrition and health tips for teachers, parents and learners through our quarterly newsletter, Break Time.
The programme model is currently being redeveloped to incorporate an achievable tiered system, annual reviews, and a new resource pack. The programme will be widened to include other components such as physical activity, environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
To join the Healthy School programme, please email email@example.com or call 021 422 1586