Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence

Further submission from HM Treasury NATIONAL SCHOOL FRUIT SCHEME

  The National School Fruit Scheme (NSFS) is an NHS Plan commitment to entitle all four to six year olds to a free piece of fruit each school day by 2004, run by the Department of Health (DoH). The NSFS covers four whole school years including some 3 and some 7 year olds. The scheme is currently funded through a New Opportunities Fund grant which is providing £42 million over the next two years.

  The scheme was successfully piloted in autumn 2000 and spring 2001 and it is now being extended throughout England on a region-by-region basis. This started with West Midlands in summer term 2002, London in the autumn term, will continue in the North-West in spring 2003 and East Midlands in summer 2003. Subsequent regions will join at the approximate rate of one per school term.

  Schemes for the provision of fruit in schools have also been piloted in Scotland and Wales. In July 2002, Glasgow established `Fruit Plus', a joint project between Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow. Children between three and twelve receive free fruit three times per week during term. The project also places an emphasis on integrating the principles of healthy eating into the school curriculum.

  The NSFS, Scots and Welsh fruit schemes work alongside the Government's Five-a-Day programme to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and other programmes aimed at encouraging children to eat healthy diets. Improved diets are a key feature of prevention strategies to reduce early deaths from cancer and coronary heart disease, and reduce health inequalities.

November 2002

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