The risk for CVD can develop at an early age when children adopt unhealthy habits. More than half of South African children don’t take a lunchbox to school, meaning that many are often eating unhealthy foods from the tuck shop or vendors, typically high in unhealthy fats, added sugar and salt. This is contributing about a quarter of children in South Africa being overweight or obese. These children are likely to become obese adults, and are putting their hearts at risk from a younger age. As children spend most of their day at school, improving the school environment – such as the school tuck shop or canteen – encourages healthy habits and can lay a foundation for lifelong practices of healthier eating, thus promoting good health during the adult years. In addition, cognitive learning and performance at sports can be improved.
The HSF Tuck Shop Programme is a voluntary programme and a free service offered to schools nationwide. The programme aims to help schools offer healthier food options to their learners, enabling children to make healthier food choices. Schools are guided through the process of adapting their existing food offerings in a manner that is cost-effective and practical. Registered schools also receive regular updates through the quarterly newsletter, Break Time, which offers further nutrition and health tips for teachers, parents and learners.
If you would like to find out more about the programme and receive support in offering healthier options at your tuck shop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 021 422 1586.