Schools and Early Childhood Education

The Picture

  • Half of children’s waking hours are spent at school
  • Forty-five percent of children aged 2–14 years usually use active transport to get to and from school.
  • Around 90 percent of secondary schools have a canteen but only half make healthier options cheaper, and 3 percent make serious effort to promote healthy food and eating habits
  • School canteen use has been associated with poor dietary patterns (eg. lower intakes of vegetables and fruit, and higher intakes of foods high in fat and/or sugar) and higher BMI
  • Only 11 percent of 9,107 secondary school students met the guidelines of 60 minutes physical activity per day
  • Auckland has 1300 early childhood service centres and 540 schools

The Plan

  • Promote compulsory guidelines that limit unhealthy food in schools and early childhood centres
  • Strengthen teacher training in nutrition and physical activity
  • More schools to encourage active transport for pupils
  • Focus on decile 1-4 schools and early childhood centres, looking at food environments in and outside the gates.
  • Developing skills for biking in low decile communities

Success in reducing obesity requires as many interventions as possible by a range of private and public sectors.