Polish lawmakers are literally changing the face of a nation, banning junk food in schools in an effort to reduce the increasing rates of child obesity. Starting next school year, children won’t find chips, soda or burgers anywhere near their schools.
Polish MPs took concrete steps in amending the law on food safety and nutrition on Thursday, with 426 voting in favor in the 460-seat lower house of parliament to impose a ban on junk food.
Introduced by the PSL Polish Peasants’ Party, the ban aims to “prevent obesity and pre-obesity in children and teenagers” a government statement said.
Under the new measures to be administered from the start of the next new school year by the health ministry, only foodstuffs approved in a detailed list can be offered to children on school grounds nationwide.
So Polish youths say goodbye to potato chips, soda, burgers and candy, and say hello to a new beginning of healthy food consumption. Foods not released for sale in the schools will also not be advertised on campus or close to its vicinity. Those in charge of schools, are to hold consultation with the parents who will participate in drawing up a list of foodstuffs authorized for sale and consumption on school premises.
The amendment is scheduled to come into force on 1 September 2015. The shops located near school premises will have three months to adapt their business to the new rules.
In Poland, some 51 percent of the entire population is overweight, local media reports citing latest UN statistics. Obesity and overweight affects more than 40 percent of women and about 60 percent of men. As many as 29 percent of 11-year-olds are overweight.
The number of obese children has been steadily growing over past decades, which means a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension in young people.
“According to the latest research, poor nutrition negatively affects the psyche of children, makes them more aggressive, have more difficulty paying attention and greater problems in science,” Professor Elisabeth Jarocka-Zither of Olsztyn children’s hospital told Radio Olztyn.
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