Healthy food options in schools failing: Auditor general
Students are letting their taste buds do the talking when it comes to healthy food.
According to auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s report released Tuesday, students are eschewing the “healthy food options,” mandated by the provincial government — and heading to local fast food restaurants for lunch.
After introducing healthier food choices, secondary school cafeteria sales plummeted between 25% and 45%.
Sales from school food vending machines sank 70%-85%.
“The secondary school principals to whom we spoke indicated that many students now prefer to eat at nearby fast food restaurants instead of choosing the healthier foods offered in the school cafeteria,” the report said.
And the auditor says it may be time to chew the fat on just what’s healthy.
The auditor did some fat-checking and found in one school board foods that deviated from the School Food and Beverage Policy.
Among their findings:
- A soup that contained twice the amount of fat allowed.
- A side dish that exceeded the allowable limit of sodium by more than 40%.
- A dessert that had only one-quarter of the required fibre.
Meanwhile, the auditor suggested kids need to get more exercise.
A 2011 report found only 20% of students said they participated in 60 minutes of daily physical activity, as recommended by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.
And if you have your kid in private school, beware. You may be throwing money down the drain, says the auditor. They found no evidence that they’re better than the public school across the street.
“Although private school results vary greatly, we found that public school students on average performed significantly better on standardized tests than private school students.”
Then there’s the little matter of the thousands of Grade 12 diplomas the education ministry provided to private schools — without identifying who’d be getting the diplomas.
In 2011-12, 30 private schools received 1,500 more diplomas than their Grade 12 student populations and 50 other private schools were issued 2,300 diplomas even though they had not submitted any student enrolment data by June 2013.