Pupils can now make informed decisions about what they are eating and drinking thanks to a pilot project in Wolverhampton.
Smestow, Our Lady and St Chad and Coppice Performing Arts schools are introducing a new labelling system for food and drink on sale within the three schools, with red, amber and green markings depicting whether items are high, medium or low in sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt.
The labelling, as well as calorie content, is being placed on popular products, such as hot meals, light bites, sandwiches, snacks, sweets and drinks.
The FoodSmart project uses the “traffic light” food labelling system that was developed by the Food Standards Agency and is the same as that used by supermarkets and other food retailers.
The project has been developed by the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Children and Young People’s Health Improvement Team, part of the Public Health department, the council’s Catering Services team and students and teachers from the three schools.
Young people have designed promotional materials for use within their schools and have also taken part in special sessions about healthy eating, reading food labels and reformulating recipes to make them healthier.
Welcoming the scheme, Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “The aim of the FoodSmart project is very simple – to help young people make healthier choices quickly and easily by giving them easy to understand nutritional information.
“The labels will give pupils a clear guide to the nutritional content of food and drink sold throughout the school day.
“It will show them at a glance if the products they are thinking about buying have low, medium or high amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
“This innovative project will empower our young people to make informed food choices and, as part of our drive to reducing levels of obesity, I would encourage other schools to get involved.”
Smestow School headteacher Martyn Morgan said: “We are really proud of the work our students have undertaken to develop such a fantastic set of resources for the city.
“At Smestow we take the welfare of our students very seriously and initiatives such as this can only further that work.”
This week is National Childhood Obesity Week, which seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of being above a healthy weight during childhood. Latest figures show more than a quarter of Year 6 pupils in Wolverhampton are obese, compared to just under a fifth of 10-year-olds nationally.