The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are together launching a new initiative to provide fresh fruits to students and staff of the Centreville Primary School.
The 100% SMART Fruits for Kids pilot program, which is a result of the government’s partnership with Foodie Co., was announced during a press conference at the Ministry of Health yesterday.
Foodie Co. Founder Tamika Taylor said over 400 students and employees at the school will receive fresh fruits at least twice a week for a six-week period.
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the program is an effort to address the impact of noncommunicable diseases in The Bahamas. He said studies show eating fruits and veggies is associated with the decrease in the risk of many chronic diseases.
“Through this initiative, it is hoped that, even at an early age, the partnership will demonstrate that the students of Centreville Primary School have developed a heightened sense of awareness about making informed choices about what they eat,” he said.
Sands added, “According to the World Health Organization, educating children about good eating habits has the potential to enhance the nutrition and health status of their younger siblings, whom them may take care of, as well as other family members that learn concomitantly with their children.”
Sands said it is vital to improve healthy eating habits early on.
He said the 2019 STEPS survey showed only 15 percent of the population between the ages of 18 to 69 eats the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables a day.
Additionally, less than half of the population drink the recommended amount of water each day.
“The Ministry of Health endorses the 100% SMART Fruits for Kids pilot initiative, as it aims at laying the foundation for a lifetime of good health,” he said.
Sands said the hope is that the program will be expanded to more schools throughout the country.
“We hope that people take notice and that after we complete the pilot program in this particular school, we believe that it’s likely going to turn out to be a smashing success, and the plan will be to extend it to other primary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools, etc.
“We want the entire population to embrace the idea of eating more fruits, more vegetables.”