School snacks banned in Russia

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Potato chips, Nutrition, United states

Snacks including sweets and potato chips will not be sold in school
canteens throughout Russia from September of this year, under a new
initiative announced by the country's chief sanitary doctor,
Gennady Onischenko.

The measures are an attempt to promote healthier eating habits amongst children to prevent the affects of poor diet - one of the most prominent causes of disease in the federation.

In a report published by CVC consulting last year, it was estimated that the current boom in the Russian snack market, particularly with products like potato chips which are relatively new to the country, has seen them become a regular part of many children's diets.

In response to the report Julia Bychenko, project leader at market research company Komkon, said that Russian children were taking to 'junk' food at an increasingly young age.

She said: "At the age of 4-6, Russian children are already major consumers of potato chips (81 per cent), chocolate (78 per cent), crackers (71 per cent), chewing gum (70 per cent) and carbonated beverages (66 per cent)."

In a report for the World Health Organisation (WHO) focusing on Russian health; factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low fruit and vegetable intake, were estimated to contribute for around 40 per cent of disease in the country.

Dr Timothy Armstrong of the WHO said that the ban was certainly "a start"​ in combating poor diet, particularly in institutions like schools.

He said "As children are effectively captive in the school environment for several hours a day, it is a perfect opportunity to promote good eating habits, and for some children it may be the only place they can do this."

In announcing the ban, Dr Onischenko announced that milk shakes and other milk products would replace popular snacks in order to promote healthier eating amongst pupils.

However there is wider concern that, instead of focusing solely on food in school canteens, a multi-faceted solution to promoting a balanced diet is needed throughout society as a whole.

Dr Armstrong believes we are seeing greater calls for the need for balanced diets.

"As emerging markets in Africa, eastern Europe and the middle east show a desire to engage with Western products, Governments and NGO's are pressing companies more than ever to balance the needs from their consumers for healthier diets with their profits."

Related topics: Ingredients

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