Included in our vision for Scotland is that we will live longer, healthier lives. We believe that a healthier Scotland is essential if we are to realise our central purpose of creating a more successful nation through increasing sustainable economic growth where we can all flourish.
In June we published Healthy Eating, Active Living, an action plan to improve diet, increase physical activity and tackle obesity in Scotland over the next three years. Schools have a central role to play in helping to improve the health of the nation. The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007 is an important provision that will help schools contribute by focusing on the importance of diet and health promotion in schools. Under the Act, local authorities and managers of grant-aided schools have a duty to ensure that food and drink provided in schools comply with nutritional requirements specified by Scottish Ministers by regulations.
The Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 were approved by the Scottish Parliament in June 2008. These new requirements build on the progress that schools have already made and will make an important contribution to improving the health of our children and young people.
But it won't be the regulations alone that encourage young
people to eat healthy, nutritious school meals. We need to be sure
that our children and young people enjoy the food and drink
in schools. I hope that this guidance will assist those of you involved in school catering to implement the regulations and to help you provide tasty and appealing food that complies with the requirements that we have set.
But setting high standards for food and drink in schools is only one piece of the puzzle. Educating children and young people about the importance of healthy eating and healthy living is also important if we are to change the culture of unhealthy eating in Scotland. The nutritional requirements complement and support the wider health promotion approach of the 2007 Act.
We have issued health promotion guidance which, along with the draft experiences and outcomes for Health and Wellbeing, as part of Curriculum for Excellence, makes clear that we expect schools to help children and young people develop an understanding of the relationship between diet and health and wellbeing.
We know that schools cannot change the eating habits of children and young people on their own and the Scottish Government is taking action on a number of fronts to improve our diet in Scotland. But we need your help and all of us must work together with children, young people, parents and the communities of Scotland to improve the food we eat if we are to achieve our aim of a healthier Scotland.
Our children and young people deserve no less.
Minister for Children and Early Years
Email: Lynne Carter firstname.lastname@example.org