The Reporter
Issue 495, 26 January 2004
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Nuffield to assess school fruit scheme

Girl eating appleThe Nuffield Institute has been awarded a £500,000 contract to assess the impact of the National School Fruit Scheme, a lottery-funded initiative to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables.
Under the scheme, funded by the New Opportunities Fund, every child aged between four and six is entitled to a portion of fruit a day.

Research teams led by Joan Ransley and Janet Cade will assess the impact of the scheme on dietary patterns and attitudes among the pupils. The assessment will use simple tick-list food diaries and questionnaires designed for four to seven-year-olds.

“Our role is to see if the scheme is able to make a difference to children’s diets in the long run,” said Joan Ransley.

“One in five primary school children don’t eat the recommended intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, and this needs to change. Eating habits formed early in life stay with us as we get older, so if the scheme can change what and how children eat, then it could have important long-term benefits.”

The team will also be interviewing teachers to assess the impact of the scheme on catering arrangements and classroom teaching, and identify problem areas in implementation. The assessment will be completed in early 2005.

Further information is available from the department of health website
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