Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hamilton Wentworth School Board to show the Province how it's done!


Here's a change for you - a post that's extremely positive.

The Hamilton Wentworth School Board recently published their draft new school food policy and I've got to say - those folks get it.

Their draft policies calls for:

  • A ban on the use of food as a reward in classrooms
  • That celebratory food have at least a moderate nutritional value
  • That school cafeterias will cook with local food when possible, display calories on menuboards, lose the deep fryers, and serve whole foods as often as possible rather than highly processed boxed meals
  • That school events such as "meet the teacher" nights will set a nutritional example and not serve minimally nutritious foods
  • That there'll be a maximum of 5 special event food days a year (eg Pizza Days)
  • That school fundraising will not rely on the sale of junk food

The policy has not yet formally been adopted and the school board is soliciting opinions from the public. If you want to provide feedback on their proposed policy you can fill out their brief online survey by clicking here.

Kudos to the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board!

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  1. These folks have really got it! WOW! I would love to hear how they developed this without total opposition from parents, teachers, and the kids! I know of people who have been trying for exactly this in our schools for a long time and have met with ongoing opposition.

    People have been so indoctrinated by big business into thinking that junk food is everyday food that it's a wonder that the school board was able to get this far and go so completely 'right' in their policies.

    Kudos to them! In their survey I've asked them to be sure to tell all of Canada how they came this far in their policy development and to get some research funding to measure it's impacts so more schools can benefit from their complete nutrition wisdom.

    The naysayers will want proof that healthy eating is in fact, good for you!

  2. Anonymous5:10 pm

    Actually, Nova Scotia are streets ahead with their provincial School Food Policy that tackles many, if not all, of these issues -

    The policy was introduced with full consultation. There were concerns about some aspects, especially around the use of food in fundraisers and special events, but kudos to Nova Scotia for moving forward with this and being national leaders! It doesn't only happen in Ontario ;)

  3. Anonymous5:38 pm

    Nova Scotia may be well ahead.

    Last time I checked Hamilton Wentworth was in the Province of Ontario and perhaps that's why Dr. Freedhoff's title is that they're showing the Province how it's done.

  4. Playing devils advocate...
    1) Last stories I saw cast doubt that calories on menus, mandatory in some cities, have had a significant effect on eating habits of most of the patrons.
    2) 5 special food events like "pizza days"? Why is pizza particularly bad for you? Are most of the foods particularly "bad", or should people instead be focusing on *portion size*?
    3) Fundraising should be in part focusing on business and sales, rather than preaching about food, shouldn't it? If the goal is to raise money for something unrelated to health and food, why force it down people's throats if must of what the public wants (and buys) is not necessarily "bad" for you (which goest back to question 2)?

    It's great they're getting rid of fried foods and such, but what are people trying to teach? That it's okay to overindulge as long as it's all broccoli and celery? Or that the kids are bad if they want to have some cake or a slice of pizza once in awhile?

  5. I was disappointed that the policy doesn't specify about pizza days. It is not made clear whether pizza is an "unhealthy" food or not. I know that the three schools within my experience as a teacher and a parent rely heavily on those pizza days for funding, to the tune of several hundreds and even thousands of dollars of profit every year, and that pizza days are weekly or even semi-weekly events.

  6. Anonymous6:02 am

    In my earlier comment about Nova Scotia being streets ahead, I was mainly responding to Michelle's point that "In their survey I've asked them to be sure to tell all of Canada how they came this far in their policy development and to get some research funding to measure it's impacts so more schools can benefit from their complete nutrition wisdom." I was also being tongue-in-cheek about Ontario, but obviously some people have no sese of humour :)

  7. Really glad to see the ban on food as rewards. It's keep our kids healthy as they learn. Not to mention it seems very similar to training with dog treats, doesn't it? Hopefully this progressive stance will encourage other surrounding schools and school boards to take this matter seriously.