A school in New Zealand is set to ban children sharing birthday cake as the government introduces new guidelines to restrict unhealthy food being sold to pupils.
The national guidelines will require only 'healthy options' to be sold on school premises and nutritious eating habits to be promoted among students, The New Zealand Herald reported. This will come into effect in June 2008.
There is a rising concern about the prevalence of obesity in New Zealand. Around 10 per cent of New Zealand children were obese in the first national health survey in 2002 and 21 per cent were overweight. Research indicates the problem has since grown.
The Oteha Valley School in Auckland has told parents not to allow their children to bring birthday cakes to school for friends to share.
Foods are to be classified as everyday, sometimes and occasional.
Occasional: foods include pies, confectionery, chocolate, deep-fried food, full-sugar fizzy drinks and high-fat pastry products. Schools are advised to offer "occasional" foods no more than once a term.
Oteha Valley principal Megan Bowden said many families would consider the number of cakes being brought into classes as unhealthy.
"There are lots and lots of children born in September and October, and you might in a class have four birthday cakes in a week."
A Ministry of Education spokesman said government guidelines only restricted what types of food could be sold from shops at schools and did not include food brought from home.
Do you agree with this practice?