Fall 2005

H e a l t h   P r o m o t i o n
Nutrition first mantra of Kids Eat Smart


Submitted Photo

Dr. Susan King enjoys a morning smile and orange juice with Andrew Richards at the Buckmasters Circle Community Center in this November 20, 2003 file photo.

A nutritious start to the school day makes a difference that lasts a lifetime. Kids Eat Smart Foundation helps kids learn, grow and be their best.

Submitted Article

A nutritious start to the school day makes a difference that lasts a lifetime. Kids Eat Smart Foundation helps kids learn, grow and be their best.

People are starting to pay attention: news of childhood obesity, incidence of type 2 diabetes, anorexia nervosa and other child nutrition issues triggered a response that will, hopefully, translate into an improved culture of nutrition for children.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, 77 per cent of children are bused to school. That usually means they do not go home for lunch. If they have money to pay for it, there is often food available for sale in school, but it may not be nutritious. It is encouraging that the Eastern School District has a new nutrition policy that hopes to see the phase out of soft drinks and deep fried food in schools over a two-year period.

On the ‘not for pay’ side of the nutritional coin, Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province-wide organization that supports nutrition programs for school-aged children. Nutrition first is the mantra, and volunteers receive information on how to plan and prepare foods that will support child wellness.

This year the Foundation is anticipating increased demand not only because of growing nutritional awareness, but also because of economic realities faced by many families in the province. The situation with the crab fishery had a tremendous impact on plant workers, labor disputes, potential closures, the price of gas, and other economic factors mean that for many families the food budget does not stretch to include the more nutritious — and the more costly — foods like milk and milk products, fresh fruit and vegetables.

In 2004-2005, the Foundation supported 159 programs, with more than 16,000 kids participating. On any given school day, Kids Eat Smart kids consumed 4,000 litres of milk, more than 1,000 boxes of cereal, more than 1,000 loaves of bread — as well as fruit, cheese, yogurt and other foods — that are part of Kids Eat Smart nutrition programs.

These programs run because they have the support of the local community — people work together and give of what they have. Parents, grandparents, service club members, teachers and others donate their time to prepare the meals, but the sheer number of kids participating means tremendous overall food cost. Local stores, supermarkets and businesses give their support through donations or best-pricing, but to ensure that all children in this province have access to adequate, nutritious food they need to grow, to learn and to thrive, support from the larger community is needed. The cost is reasonable — $15 will cover the costs associated with a month of breakfasts for one child.

Academically, physically and socially, the bottom line is that breakfast programs start the school day off right and the benefits last a lifetime. Your support makes a difference.

Though most programs are breakfast, the Foundation also supports snack (recess, or homework havens), and lunch programs. Kids Eat Smart Sustaining Partners include the Department of Human Resources and Labor, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Petro-Canada, and national affiliate Breakfast for Learning. Kids Eat Smart Foundation is also supported by community and supporting partners, and public donations. To donate, call 1 (877) 722-1996 or visit www.kidseatsmart.ca. Charitable receipts issued.

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Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.