Establish a Provincial School Lunch Program for All Island Children

Resolution Number: 

2015-08
Resolution

WHEREAS current research suggests that poor diet is associated with poor school performance.i

WHEREAS in 2012, 35.7% of children in PEI were considered overweight; of these, 13 per cent fell into the higher risk “obese” category, both of which were higher than the Canadian average.ii

WHEREAS diet quality and obesity have been linked to a number of chronic diseases and higher health care utilization and spending.iii Childhood obesity has been shown to have significant negative influences on mental health.iv

WHEREAS the best approaches to obesity prevention are population and community-based, rather than being the sole responsibility of the individual.v

WHEREAS one in five children in Prince Edward Island live in households affected by some level of food insecurity and 79% of food insecure households were reliant on wages or salaries from employment (as opposed to social assistance, pension or other senior’s income, employment insurance, or other). This is the highest rate in Canada.vi

WHEREAS food bank use in PEI has increased by 18.7% since 2008 and 38% of those helped by Island food banks are children.vii

WHEREAS recent research in Canada has demonstrated a strong link between food insufficiency and poor mental and physical health in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.viii

WHEREAS PEI children’s lunches are consistently of poor quality. The vast majority of Island children are not consuming enough fruits, vegetables and milk and they are consuming less healthy foods too often.ix

WHEREAS approximately 40% of children’s daily caloric intake occurs at school and schools provide an ideal opportunity for learning about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.x

WHEREAS lunch programs that rely heavily on parent volunteers contribute to inequalities in access to healthy food across the Island; and, food programs that rely heavily on teachers and school staff reduce the number of hours of instructional time they are able to provide.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the P.E.I. Home and School Federation request the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Minister of Health and Wellness establish a provincial school lunch program for all Island children that adheres to the school nutrition policies and regulations.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the P.E.I. Home and School Federation request the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Minister of Health and Wellness ensure that all school lunch programs are developed in collaboration with school communities and encourage and facilitate the use of locally produced food and support local businesses.

References

HOUSEHOLD FOOD INSECURITY: insecure or inadequate access to food due to financial constraints, and includes: worry that food would run out before there was enough money to buy more; the food does not last and there is no money to buy more; not being able to afford balanced meals and reliance on low-cost foods to feed children; reducing the size of meals or skipping meals because there was not enough money to buy food; being hungry but not being able to afford food; losing weight because there was not enough money to buy food; going for a whole day without food.

i Florence, M., Asbridge, M., & Veugelers, P. (2008). Diet quality and academic performance. Journal of School Health, 78(4), 209-215; Booth, J., Tomporowski, P., Boyle, J., Ness, A., Joinson, C., Leary, S., & Reilly, J. (2014). Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence: findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. International Journal of Obesity, 38, 1335-1342; Purtell, K., & Gershoff, E. (2014). Fast food consumption and academic growth in late childhood. Clinical Pediatrics, 1-7.

ii School Nutrition & Activity Project Feedback Report: Provincial and School District Survey Results. (2012). Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: SNAP (School Nutrition & Activity Project).

iii Kirk, S., Kuhle, S., Ohimaa, A., Veugelers, P. (2012). Health behaviours and health-care utilization in Canadian schoolchildren. Public Health Nutrition, 1-7; Katzmarzyk, P.T., & Janssen, I. (2004). The economic costs associated with physical inactivity and obesity in Canada: An update. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 29(1): 90-115.

iv Wang, F., Wild, T.C., Kipp, W., Kuhle, S., Veugelers, P.J. (2009, June). The influence of childhood obesity on the development of self-esteem. Statistics Canada: Health Reports, 20 (2), 20-27; Schwartz, C., Waddell, C., Barican, J., Garland, O., Nightingale, L., & Gray-Grant, D. (2010). The mental health implications of childhood obesity. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 4(1), 1–20. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.

v Wilkinson, D., & McCardy, L. (2008, May). Prevention of overweight and obesity in young Canadian children. Mississauga, Ontario: Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition.

vi Tarasuk, V, Mitchell, A, Dachner, N. (2014). Household food insecurity in Canada, 2012. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF). Retrieved from http://nutritionalsciences.lamp.utoronto.ca/

vii Hungercount: A comprehensive report on hunger and food bank uUse in Canada, and recommendations for change. (2014). Food Banks Canada. Retrieved from http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/getmedia/7739cdff-72d5- 4cee-85e9-54d456669564/HungerCount_2014_EN.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf

viii Tarasuk, V, Mitchell, A, Dachner, N. (2014). Household food insecurity in Canada, 2012. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF). Retrieved from http://nutritionalsciences.lamp.utoronto.ca/; Vozoris, N.T. & Tarasuk, V.S. (2003). Household Food Insufficiency is Associated with Poorer Health. The Journal of Nutrition, 133, 120-126.

ix School Nutrition & Activity Project Feedback Report: Provincial and School District Survey Results. (2012). Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: SNAP (School Nutrition & Activity Project).

x School healthy eating policy and administrative regulations. Charlottetown, PE: PEI Healthy Eating Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.healthyeatingpei.ca/pei-school-nutrition-policy.php

Consideration

Status: 

Passed
Saturday, April 11, 2015

Destination: 

Department of Agriculture & Forestry
Department of Community Services & Seniors
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Department of Health and Wellness
English Language School Board
PEI Healthy Eating Alliance
PEI Food Security Network
Responses Received

Responses: 

 

 

Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island:   Thank you for your letter dated June 11, 2015.  This is a good initiative on the part of the Home and School Federation and other partners.  I look forward to further reports.  (June 19, 2015)

 

English Language School Board:   The English Language School Board agrees that external funding and delivery of a district-wide school lunch program would be beneficial to students.  The Board acknowledges that the provision of such a program is outside its mandate, but would welcome its implementation.  (October 15, 2015)

 

Education, Early Learning and Culture:   Schools provide breakfast and snack programs for all students and government budgets $200,000 to assist schools to offer this service. I appreciate the numerous parent and community volunteers who provide assistance to offer this program. Regarding the lunch programs, we have calculated the cost of delivering such a program and it is a very costly initiative. At this time, there are no plans to provide a lunch program for students. Government has also increased the food allowance rates available to families through the social assistance program.  (October 20, 2015)