Schools should ban puddings and soft drinks, say dentists

According to the BBC, dentists in Scotland are urging schools to ban puddings and fizzy drinks from the lunch menu in order to improve the health of the nation’s children

The Scottish government is aiming to ensure the health of children is improved – the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow believes one way to do this is to ban excess sugar from school dinners.

The faculty said that about a third of children suffer from dental decay, while just less than that – three in 10 – are overweight or obese. It wants to see puddings and carbonated drinks removed from the school lunch menu.

Scottish ministers have responded by saying they will “carefully consider” the response to a consultation on the matter.

Faculty Dean, professor Graham Ogden, said: “We fully support the positive intention of these proposed regulations, but we feel that the Scottish government should take a bolder approach if it’s to ensure that our young people have the healthiest possible start in life.

“For example, we all agree that children should have greater access to more fruit and vegetables as part of their school day, but increasing access does not necessarily increase consumption.

“The guidance must include an evidence-based plan to ensure any increase in provision also ensures that our young people consume larger amounts of healthier food during school meals.”

The faculty is also opposed to replacing sugary drinks with sugar-free ones: “We also know that diet drinks cause dental erosion, in addition to being a gateway to sugar. We should aim to ensure that our children’s oral health gets off to the best possible start in life.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “We want to make sure every pupil is equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to make better health choices and live longer, healthier lives.

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“This commitment is supported by a package of measures including Curriculum for Excellence and Better Eating, Better Learning.

“Schools have a key role to play but it is vital that we all provide consistent messages to children and young people as they learn how to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.”

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