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Israeli schools begin giving out free fruits and vegetables for students

By Mason White 6:01 PM February 21, 2013
Fruits and vegetables 

By: Sarah Weiss
Israeli schools have begun a new program of giving out free fruits and vegetables to students, according to press reports in Israel.

Sweets and snacks, out, apples and dates, in. Today, several elementary schools began the nationwide project of free distribution of fruits and vegetables during the lunch break, initiated by the Ministries of Education and Health.

The national program aims to promote active and healthy lifestyles by the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Health. The new project will promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables instead of unhealthy snacks.

The project in the school system, hopes to change students’ buying habits and help fight obesity in children and adults. The first step, is a pilot program conducted in nine primary schools in the cities of Holon and Tur’an, which will be distributing fruits and vegetables twice a week at the lunch break in the presence of the teachers. The project will run for four months until the end of the school year.

Based on data from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bureau of Statistics, the past decade has seen an increase of obesity among children as a result of increased consumption of processed foods and soft drinks, and a decrease in consumption of fruits and vegetables.

It also showed that the last decade has seen a decline of 14 percent in real family spending on the purchase of fruits and vegetables.

“The program is designed to expose students to a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables and help in different ways to consume the recommended daily amount,” Tzipi Friedkin, a program coordinator, said.