CBSE asks schools to ensure that fast food items aren't available in canteens

New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked all its affiliated schools to ensure that food items like chips, carbonated drinks, ready- to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers and confectionery items like chocolates, candies are not available in the school canteens.

The Board has advised all schools affiliated to it to try that no such food items are available around 200 meters of the school premises.

Fast food
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In a Circular to all affiliated schools, the CBSE has written that consumption of food high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) has been found to be associated with many diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and others.

Referring to a Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry report, CBSE secretary Joseph Emmanuel said that it provides insights on how to control the endemic problem of consumption of junk food available in and around schools.

The senior CBSE official said that many recommendations made in the report have a direct bearing on schools and suggested they ensure that there is no HFSS foods such as chips, fried foods, carbonated beverages, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers, potato fries and confectionery items, chocolates, candies, samosas, bread pakoras, etc available in their canteens.

So far as possible in their capacity, schools are also urged to take the possible necessary steps to ensure non-availability of HFSS around 200 meters of the school, the CBSE letter added.

It said that schools should constitute 'School Canteen Management Committee' having about 7 to 10 members including teachers, parents, students and school canteen operators to implement and monitor the guidelines to make safe food available to students in the school.

The CBSE circular also mentioned a series of other measures including inspection of lunch boxes to rule out consumption of unhealthy foods in schools.

The Board said that it already advised schools that there should be at least 40-45 minutes of Physical Activities or Games period for Classes I-X every day.

Awareness generating events regarding nutritious food and avoidance of HFSS foods like Celebration of Nutrition Week (1-7th September) and other such occasions may be organized throughout the year by the schools, the CBSE circular suggested.

The Board also said that schools should regularly monitor the height, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) for all the students and based on their trajectory, individualized counselling should be provided to each student and parents during Parent-Teacher Meeting.

The schools may hire nutritionists and advocate regular physical activities such as yoga along with other life style modifications, the CBSE circular said.

The CBSE has on several occasions in the past issued circulars regarding replacement of junk food with healthy snacks in schools.

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