This is how Balearic children fight childhood obesity: Mediterranean diet in schools, and prohibition of sugary drinks and pastries

Eating disorders are a priority public health problem, and especially is childhood obesity, which has multiplied by 10 in the last 40 years, so much so that it is already considered the "epidemic of the 21st century." Are required effective measures to promote healthy eating habits among children, and some autonomous communities are already taking important steps.

Such is the case of the Balearic Islands, which has passed a decree law that promotes the Mediterranean diet in schools, while prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks, sweets and industrial pastries in all non-university educational centers of the islands.

Promotion of the Mediterranean diet in the Balearic schools

The decree on the "promotion of the Mediterranean diet" was approved last Friday by the Balearic government, with the aim of "favor a healthy diet, based on the basic principle of the Mediterranean diet pattern", as announced by the health counselor, Patricia Gomez.

For this purpose measures have been taken focused on promote healthy eating among students, which include the prohibition of selling or advertising certain foods, the inclusion of healthy menus in cafeterias and canteens, and penalties for schools that do not meet the requirements.

Neither advertising nor sale of certain products

To start, the Balearic executive has prohibited the sale of sugary drinks, sweets and industrial pastries in all the non-university educational centers of the islands, either through vending machines or directly in bars or canteens.

Gifts, incentives, sponsorship and advertising of food and beverages that do not meet the nutritional content criteria established by the regulations are also prohibited.

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Requirements for dining room menus

In addition, bars, cafeterias and school canteens of public, private and concerted educational centers will have to serve menus that meet a series of requirements:

  • The vegetables They must be present as a first course once or twice a week.
  • The side dish side dishes must contain varied salads, and be served three or four times a week.
  • As a dessert, fresh and seasonal fruit should be offered four or five times a week. Yogurt, strawberry cheese, cottage cheese or dried fruit can be offered once or never a week.
  • All dishes must be cooked and seasoned with virgin olive oil.
  • The priorities will be prioritized white or lean meats.
  • The white or blue fish will alternate.
  • Precooked foods can only be offered three times a month, while sausages, hamburgers and other meat preparations, a maximum of four times a month.
  • He water will be the only drink To be offered.
  • Students with gluten intolerance will have alternative healthy menus, and whenever possible, so will those students who for cultural reasons have a diet to exclude certain foods.
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These measures will also be taken into account in the cafeterias, bars and restaurants of universities and public health centers. There, it will also facilitate dosing by cups or individual units in relation to the possible consumption of beverages such as wine or beer.

Penalties for non-compliance

The General Directorate of Public Health and Participation monitor compliance with this decree, imposing administrative sanctions on centers that do not meet all the requirements. Balearic schools will have a period of one year to adapt the current food supply to the provisions of the new standard.

Childhood obesity, a serious problem to fight

Childhood obesity is a problem of alarming dimensions in many countries, and it is necessary that everyone, from school and family, to institutions and governments get involved to solve it. In our country, Andalusia has already taken an important step a year ago to fight against child overweight, and now Balearic is added.

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And is that according to the "Study on the prevalence of obesity in the Balearic Islands" conducted last year, one in four students in the archipelago is overweight or obese. And although there is a slight improvement compared to the data recorded ten years ago, there is still a long way to go.

According to this study, there are still students who continue to opt for unhealthy products as a mid-morning snack or snack, such as sugary sodas or sancks. In addition, more than half go to school by car and many spend about two hours a day on sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games.

A few months ago, Health already announced a series of measures to prevent obesity since childhood, among which was the limitation of advertising of less healthy foods aimed at children under 15, the implementation of color labeling in food and drinks, or the introduction of nutritional quality criteria in the schools menu.

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