Most Algarve children do not get their ‘five-a-day’

in Algarve · 04-10-2018 09:49:00 · 0 Comments
Most Algarve children do not get their ‘five-a-day’

Two in three Algarve children between the ages of two and 10 do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables as set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which strongly suggests a minimum intake of five daily servings of fruits and vegetables – or the so-called ‘five-a-day’.

This conclusion is drawn from a study carried out in a partnership between researchers from the Portuguese Association Against Childhood Obesity (APCOI) and the Institute of Environmental Health (ISAMB) of Lisbon University’s Faculty of Medicine (FMUL), which analysed a sample of 12,764 students, in the academic year 2017/2018, who took part in the latest edition of the ‘Fruit Heroes’ project.
The study found that 74.9 percent of children in Portugal do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables, and when broken down by districts, 66.3 percent of the Algarve’s children fall below the recommendations.
Bragança was the district with the highest percentage of children that fell short of the recommendations, with 96.7 percent failing their five-a-day target, followed by the Guarda district with 91.9 percent, and the Azores with 86.6 percent.
The research team also analysed the effects of the implementation of the 7th edition of the ‘Fruit Heroes - Healthy School Snack’ project, promoted by APCOI, which aims to change students’ eating habits for the better.
It concluded that, globally, 41.9 percent of students had increased their daily fruit consumption after 12 weeks of taking part in the project.

All districts and regions showed an increase in daily consumption of fruit portions following the project’s implementation. In the Algarve, there was an increase of 41.2 percent.
Mário Silva, president and founder of APCOI, said in his view these figures prove the importance of the ‘Fruit Heroes’ project as a tool for health education.
“The success of this winning formula is as follows: it uses characters with whom children identify combined with daily challenges that help us convey messages and model behaviours, and of course, rewards that keep students and teachers motivated”, he explained.
Registration for the 2018/2019 project is open to any pre-school or first-cycle classroom or class and can be made free of charge on until 12 October.
The organisation promises prizes for all children and the opportunity for more children to be able to interact with the project’s mascots.
Following enrolment, teachers receive access to the teaching materials at no cost.
According to Mário Silva, this is a “turn-key initiative” designed for children aged two to 10, which primary or pre-school teachers can “put into practice in a very simple and free way”.


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