National | Education

'Fruit in Schools' programme feeds over 97,000 NZ school kids

Nearly twenty million pieces of fruit and vegetables have been and will continue to be given to kids in Aotearoa this school year.

Health minister, Jonathan Coleman says, "Healthy eating helps fuel the body and the brain, that’s why the Fruit in Schools programme is so beneficial to students.”

Four hundred and eighty decile one and two primary and intermediate schools covering over 97,000 students have been taking part in the programme.

Each school receives high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables. This means that they try out around 33 different types of fruit or vegetable during the year.

The programme has proved beneficial, according to an external evaluation executed on behalf of 5+ a Day Charitable Trust.

“The study found that the programme is having benefits for both the health and wellbeing of students,” says Dr Coleman.

“Schools reported improved dental outcomes, an increase in overall healthy eating behaviours and a reduction in general sores. The evaluation also indicated that there was an increase in student concentration.

“As well as receiving the fresh fruit or vegetables, the schools taking part in the programme also receive support and advice on healthy living.”

$6.6 million dollars is invested into the Fruit in Schools programme by the Government annually. This is supported by the extra $400 million being invested into the health sector this year.