However, where primary school pupils numbers are on the increase, the Secondary school students numbers are on the decline. According to the same article "Teenagers are independent young people and changing entrenched eating habits does not happen overnight. They need food education and encouragement from schools to change their eating habits."
And so true it is. Eating habits does not happen overnight, parents like us can vouch for that statement. It is a life long process beginning from an early age. Like what the Chinese saying that goes "You cannot straighten an old bent tree or You cannot teach an old dog new tricks."
The statistics in the article relate to schools in UK where the new Government rules require greater use of fresh ingredients cooked from scratch. The only setback is the escalation of food prices which deters purchasing of quality dinners.
Pupils prefer to 'choose junk food' because it's cheaper and the queues are shorter. Read here. Quote: "Our research found that local takeaways in the school fringe were undercutting the school canteen by offering child-sized portions for £1.
"This meant that for the equivalent price of a school meal, pupils could buy chicken and chips or a whole pizza and still have money left over for a drink or sweets."In a bid to keep the pupils within the school compound, a UK government minister said this "Children should be forced to stay on school grounds at lunchtime in a bid to stop them eating junk food". Education minister Kevin Brennan insisted the restriction could help tackle obesity and prevent tensions with those who live nearby.
As a parent I find this statement amusing. In a country like UK where there is so much said about freedom of rights and development, they are trying to use 'force' on their citizens?
Hahaha! What a joke. Isn't healthy eating habits, behavioural patterns and accountability part and parcel of our responsibility as parents to our own kids. You don't need to agree with me, this is solely my own opinion. Any moron can see that trying to 'force' anything on any people in any part of the world cannot work!!
Part of the reason my daughters insist on bringing their Bento to school is because of the long queues at the canteen during break time. The local Malaysian school system breaks for 15-20 minutes including the time taken for the kid to walk from the third floor downstairs and another 10-15 meters to the canteen and that again take the same route back to the class within the stipulated time. No wonder, sometimes, my kids either have to wolf down their food and risk a tummy ache from lack of chewing or leave the balance for after school to consume!
One of the reasons that has made me a 'frenzied bento packer' is because in Malaysian school canteens, the most salable foods are nuggets, fries, nasi lemak and junk food.
Read here for more insight about how, quote: "food bought by pupils outside school provided at least 23% of their daily energy requirement and was often high in fat or sugar.
The top 10 foods bought in local shops included fizzy drinks, chocolate, sweets, crisps, cakes, biscuits and chips.