The majority of Nova Scotians who responded to the province’s draft food and nutrition policy agree steps must be taken to provide better nutritional choices for students in schools.
The draft policy, which recommends removing unhealthy food choices from vending machines and cafeterias, underwent a five-week consultation between Sept. 15 and Oct. 21. This consultation was in addition to the input received from the provincial policy working group which developed the draft policy over the past school year.
There were more than 1,000 responses to the proposed Comprehensive Food and Nutrition Policy from students, parents, educators, and health professionals.
“We are very pleased with the level of response to the draft policy and the advice we received,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir, today, Nov. 17. “What we heard consistently in the consultation is that people support the goal of healthy foods in schools.”
Mr. Muir continued to say that respondents made a number of comments and suggestions that will help the province improve on the draft policy.
The Department of Education and Nova Scotia Health Promotion are now reviewing the public input and will revise the policy in the weeks ahead.
“Parents care very deeply about the health of their children and they understand healthy eating impacts on learning. What we are going to do now is go through all the documentation, summarize what we have heard, and come up with a final policy,” said Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald.
The provincial policy working group included representation from each school board, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Federation of Nova Scotia Home and School Associations, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Nova Scotia Health Promotion. There was also a special consultation with students.
Mr. Muir and Mr. MacDonald said the province hopes to begin implementation of a policy this school year, recognizing that some components will take longer to implement.
Many schools in Nova Scotia have already implemented food and nutrition policies with great success.