Government says school nutrition program has been effective

Above: Minister Eggen and Parliamentary Secretary Annie McKitrick visit with students at Norwood School.

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta is crediting its school nutrition program for giving 5,000 students more energy and the ability to be better able to focus in class.

Citing a report on the 2016-17 pilot school nutrition program, the government says students in 33 schools across Alberta are receiving a daily nutritious meal or snack.

“This program has been overwhelmingly positive in the communities where it’s already been introduced, and the results are quite impressive,” said David Eggen, Minister of Education, in a release on the program. “We’ve seen improved student attendance, a decrease in negative behaviour and an increased sense of healthy food choices among students. This program is one of the ways we’re making life better for Alberta students.”

The province introduced the school nutrition program as a pilot in the 2016-17 school year with $3.5 million in funding. An additional $10 million in Budget 2017 has now expanded to every school board in the province for the 2017-18 school year.

The 14 school boards that participated in the pilot are each receiving $250,000 in grant funding for the 2017-18 school year. The remaining 48 school boards are each receiving $141,000 in grant funding to implement the program in 2017-18.

The government says school boards must demonstrate how their program adheres to the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth and are required to include a nutrition education component as part of the program.

A summary of the 2016-17 pilot is now available online at https://education.alberta.ca/media/3704342/school-nutrition-2016-17-pilot-summary.pdf.

Locally, Chris & Tracy’s No Frills raised $7561 for school lunch programs at Morinville Community High School, Georges H. Primeau, Ecole Notre Dame, and Morinville Public School.

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