Health for Life, the U.K.’s flagship healthy lifestyle community programme, has supported 120 primary schools in Birmingham over the last six years.
Five years of data collection has demonstrated the incredibly positive impact Health for Life has had on students; for example a 25% increase in pupils involved in cooking and 38% increase in gardening at school. It is also evident that the programme has had a lasting impact on the whole school community, including teachers and families, involving over 2,500 ‘hard-to-reach’ parents.
We caught up with Nelson Mandela primary school recently, who shared their Health for Life journey………..
The school signed up for Health for Life in 2014, acknowledging that healthy eating was an immediate area for improvement. With support from the Health for Life team and funding from the Mondelez International Foundation, the school reviewed its policy and practice, working with the catering staff, pupils and parents to make changes.
Three years on, they are confident that healthier practices are well established: only healthy snacks are sold, school lunch service ensures each child has vegetables on their plate; the salad cart is an everyday part of school meals and a there is a culture of pupils trying different foods.
The school introduced cookery lessons to the regular timetable, ensuring that every child has the skills to make meals at home with parents. The school has gone on to support other schools in establishing cookery sessions and identifies an unexpected benefit of the activity “It provides a way for children who maybe don’t achieve in other areas to progress and thrive and to share at home. Some children already cook at home and are able to show what they already know. They have opportunities to be proud of their knowledge and skills; they can be the experts.”
Alongside these lessons, the school also organised healthy eating sessions for parents which resulted in healthier packed lunches for students, but greater parental awareness about being healthier themselves. One teacher commented “Parents are on-board; they are not trying to sneak in food or get round the guidance school has given.”
Raised beds have been provided for each school year group so that students can grow fruit and vegetables, enhancing their skills, knowledge and enabling access to fresh foods. Gardening has been linked with the science curriculum ensuring it is not only a timetabled activity but also giving children a ‘hands-on’ approach in studying science.
A range of organised lunch-time and after-school activity clubs were also introduced, including a pedometer club, basketball, and keep fit classes. This has enabled staff to target children who need support, some of whom have since been trained as playleaders to work with their peers. Families have enthusiastically participated in a ‘Walk-a-mile’ activity, before school and this has now inspired parents to set up their own walking group.
The school community is delighted with the programme’s impact on their school, reporting “We now take pride in being a healthy school.”
About Mondelēz International
Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is a global snacking powerhouse, with 2015 net revenues of approximately $30 billion. Creating delicious moments of joy in 165 countries, Mondelēz International is a world leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, candy and powdered beverages, with billion-dollar brands such as Oreo, LU and Nabisco biscuits; Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Milka chocolate; and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, NASDAQ 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit www.mondelezinternational.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDLZ.