Minister: no sweets at schools

Pre-schools should set a good example when it comes to helping give children good eating habits, according to the consumer minister

The consumer minister, Carina Christensen, wants sweets and other junk food kicked out of the nation's pre-schools. She says lessons about healthy eating are undermined when children are permitted to eat unhealthy food.

'Sweets and cakes have no place in our pre-schools', she told Fyens Stiftstidende newspaper.

By 2008 all public workplaces are to create an official dietary policy for their employees. Christensen believes a ban on giving children sugar at schools could be made a part of such local regulations.

Paediatricians agree that a ban would help reduce the increasing problem of child obesity, but suggested that parliament should take responsibility to ban junk food in pre-schools.

'Doing so would give kids a healthier day,' according to Dr Vibeke Manniche, a child obesity specialist.

Manniche pointed out that though many pre-schools have already set limits on how much junk food kids can have, the problem would not go away unless attitudes towards young children and sweets changed entirely.

'Just 25 years ago you would never have considered giving sweets to a child under the age of three,' she said. 'Today, whenever we have a special occasion, out come the sweets. We can't get enough of them. It's nuts that we allow that to happen at pre-schools.'

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