Scottish primary schools serve puddings more often than soup, and these puddings have an average of 14g of sugar, a new report has found.
Research by Obesity Action Scotland highlights the extent of free sugars being consumed by school age children, leading the organisation to call on local government election candidates to transform school meals across Scotland.
“Change is possible and we have highlighted areas where that change is starting to happen, but more action is needed and greater priority and attention needs to be given to this subject to ensure we offer all our children the best start in life,” said Lorraine Tulloch, programme lead of Obesity Action Scotland.
Two-thirds of children in Scotland’s primary schools eat school meals. Yet in 2015 school age children ate only 2.7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and only 14% ate oily fish once a week.
Children aged four to 18 are also consuming three times the recommended level of free sugars, found in cakes, biscuits, cereals, soft drinks and fruit juice, as well as yogurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts.
The organisation’s research indicates that items such as sweetened yogurts and other desserts in school meals could be contributing to this excess intake of free sugars in children.
Obesity Action Scotland has four recommendations for action: to use unprocessed or minimally processed foods wherever possible; prioritise vegetables, soup and salads over puddings; the free sugar content of school meals should move towards the new Scottish Dietary Goals; to create a positive physical and social environment for school meals.
To read the report, visit here.