Schools case Studies

Connecting with communities for healthy change

The staff at Linwood Avenue School were concerned about the high number of packet foods that were being included in children’s lunchboxes. These packet foods had very little nutritional value and were high in fat, sugar and salt.

Takeaway food outlets were also opening up across the road from school, and families were frequently buying food from them.

As part of the Keeping Ourselves Safe programme, the school decided to focus on children’s health by connecting with parents and whānau, to help them understand the health risks associated with eating too much pre-packaged and takeaway food.

To start the programme, teachers collected all the empty food-packets from children’s lunchboxes for a week. With a roll of 300 children, more than 830 food packets were collected over the week. This display of these packets was a very visual way to show families how much pre-packaged food children were eating.

The school held a Health Celebration Day to celebrate the healthy things they were already doing and to demonstrate healthy eating to families.

Health providers took part in the day. They provided healthy food samples, distributed food and grocery packs and demonstrated healthy food preparation.

The Heart Foundation, Kids Can, The Cancer Society and school parents promoted healthy, reasonably-priced breakfast foods. The children were given toothbrush packs, healthy fruit snacks, and healthy food colouring competitions. They were also asked to guess how many food packets were collected over the week.

Seventy families attended the Health Celebration Day which was a great turn out. As a result of the day, Linwood Ave School decided to trial a ‘packet-free’ day in term 4. If successful, they will arrange to have a ‘packet-free’ day each week.

Well done Linwood Avenue School!