Obe­sity: Malta to lead de­vel­op­ment of vol­un­tary pro­cure­ment guide­lines for schools

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

On the oc­ca­sion of Tues­day’s World Obe­sity Day the govern­ment yes­ter­day pledged that since child­hood obe­sity is one of the main health pri­or­i­ties for Malta’s Pres­i­dency of the Coun­cil of Europe, Malta will lead the de­vel­op­ment of a vol­un­tary pro­cure­ment guide­line for schools. The over­ar­ch­ing goal of this pri­or­ity is to con­trib­ute to halt­ing the rise in obe­sity in chil­dren and young peo­ple.

Malta, the govern­ment said, is work­ing closely with a group of tech­ni­cal ex­perts across mem­ber states to de­velop tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions for the pro­cure­ment of healthy food in schools.

By the end of Malta’s EU Pres­i­dency, a doc­u­ment with clear guide­lines for the use of pub­lic pro­cur­ers on a vol­un­tary ba­sis will be de­vel­oped, the govern­ment said.

These guide­lines will help pro­cures in their is­sue of ten­ders to buy healthy food for school chil­dren. This is one of the de­liv­er­ables en­vis­aged for Malta’s EU Pres­i­dency pri­or­ity to help re­verse the ever in­creas­ing trend in child­hood obe­sity.

Malta, like the ma­jor­ity of coun­tries in the de­vel­oped world, is fac­ing an in­crease in the preva­lence of obe­sity.

The Min­istry for Health has set up an in­ter-min­is­te­rial ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on Healthy Lifestyle and Non Com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, with the main aim be­ing to shift the liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment from an obe­so­genic en­vi­ron­ment to one that pro­motes healthy choices and a healthy weight.

The health au­thor­i­ties are also re­in­forc­ing a lead­ing role to sup­port ini­tia­tives in halt­ing the obe­sity rise in line with the Healthy Weight for Life Strat­egy, Breast­feed­ing Pol­icy, Food and Nu­tri­tion Ac­tion Plan and the Whole of School Ap­proach to a Healthy Lifestyle Strat­egy.

Ac­tion be­ing car­ried out which de­crease the rise in child­hood obe­sity in­clude:

Na­tional aware­ness-rais­ing and ed­u­ca­tion cam­paigns on healthy eat­ing and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, tar­get­ing both the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion as well as spe­cific pop­u­la­tion groups.

Ini­tia­tives en­cour­ag­ing de­vel­op­ment of the skills re­quired for be­hav­iour change which fo­cuses on cook­ing healthy meals for the fam­ily within a bud­get.

On­go­ing School Fruit Scheme in line with the Mediter­ranean diet.

Lunch­box cam­paign: The Health Pro­mo­tion and Dis­ease Pre­ven­tion Direc­torate have teamed up with the Ed­u­ca­tion Au­thor­i­ties to launch a cam­paign to en­cour­age health­ier lunch­boxes.

The reg­u­la­tion of school tuck­shops through re­spec­tive ten­der agree­ments is in line with cur­rent healthy di­etary rec­om­men­da­tions. A list of per­mis­si­ble foods and non-per­mis­si­ble foods has been dis­trib­uted to all schools, whilst health in­spec­tors re­view school tuck shops to en­sure com­pli­ance.

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