Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Local Buzz: HK Centre for Health Protection has good news about healthy eating in schools

From the ESAS website

Last Friday, the Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) announced the success of the EatSmart Accreditation Scheme (ESAS) in Hong Kong schools.  Department of Health (DH) officials stated that they have been "pleased to see an increasing number of schools actively promoting and practising healthy eating," and noted that 196 primary schools are currently enrolled in the ESAS (roughly one-third of all HK primary schools).  Of those enrolled schools, 67 (35% of the total enrolled) have been accredited.  In order to attain ESAS accreditation, schools must "demonstrate commitment in continuously implementing administrative measures, providing healthy lunches and snacks, and carrying out education and publicity measures to safeguard a nutritionally friendly school environment for children."

This initiative, launched in 2009-2010, was created to halt the growing tide of childhood obesity in Hong Kong. A study from the Departments of Physical Education and Social Work at Hong Kong Baptist University, published in 2006, stated that "[by] 2005, the overall prevalence of childhood obesity was 17.8%" up from 16.1% in 1995. But since 2008/2009, ESAS administrators estimate that childhood obesity rates have been in decline (see chart above). The relatively wide adoption of ESAS in schools is certainly something worth celebrating, and represents a substantial effort on the part of the government to educate, empower, and truly nourish its young citizens. For more information on ESAS, see the ESAS website.

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