Communications News: Barnardo's slams state over schools' junkfood

Barnardo's has attacked the Government's recent healthy living blueprint for schools for failing to recommend that schools phase out vending machines selling sugary and fatty foods.

The charity launched a scathing report yesterday, demanding that school vending machines stock healthy food and drink choices. A Barnardo's spokeswoman said it was "shocking" that the Government's blueprint still appears to allow schools to be financially dependent on takings from machines selling unhealthy foods.

Burger Boy and Sporty Girl: Children and young people's attitudes towards food in school calls for the provision of all food in schools to be inspected by Ofsted and contribute to the school's overall performance measurement.

The charity also wants ring-fenced Government funding for school meals to ensure that a minimum amount is spent on each child per meal.

The proposals are among 12 recommended by the report, which was handed to relevant MPs at a conference bearing the report's name in London yesterday.

Neera Sharma, Barnardo's principal policy officer and co-author of the report, said: "We welcome the Government's healthy living review and strongly urge that it puts in place radical public health measures, with adequate financial resources, to improve the diets of schoolchildren."

The report is based on interviews with 174 schoolchildren in the UK about what makes them choose the food they do.

It warns that if current childhood obesity trends continue, at least one-third of adults, one-fifth of boys and one-third of girls in the UK will be obese by 2020.

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