My Department is active in the area of promotion of health and wellbeing in schools. The issue of promoting healthy eating is addressed in schools through subjects such as Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), and Home Economics as well as in Physical Education. The aim is to equip students with such skills and knowledge to enable them to make appropriate choices for healthy lifestyles. This informed approach will help to reduce the incidence of obesity in our young people.
Schools are strongly encouraged to have a formal healthy eating policy that has been developed in consultation with students and parents.
Guidelines are available to schools on developing a healthy eating policy in Post-Primary Schools, which have been developed by the Department of Health and HSE. The healthy eating policy should outline how the school supports healthy eating practices through the promotion of healthy lunches and healthy snacks and other means.
My Department has issued circulars to all primary and post primary schools on the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles.
In relation to higher education institutions, these are autonomous institutions and the management of their affairs are matters for the individual institutions concerned. I understand that the Department of Health, under its Healthy Ireland Initiative, is developing a Healthy Campus Framework in consultation with these institutions. This Framework adopts a holistic understanding of health, takes a whole campus approach and aspires to create a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances the health and wellbeing of its community.
I hope you find this information useful.