In a latest circular, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked all the schools affiliated to it to ensure that food items like chips, ready-to-eat noodles etc. are not available at canteens and within 200 meters of the school premises.
“The schools can also inspect the lunch boxes of students to ensure they do not indulge in unhealthy food,” said the CBSE, which had last issued an advisory on junk food to schools in 2008.
The board has mentioned that consumption of food high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) has been found to be associated with many diseases including type II diabetes, hypertension among others.
The circular has also directed the schools to constitute School Canteen Management Committee comprising up to 10 members, including teachers, parents, students and school canteen operators, to implement the guidelines to ensure safe food in schools.
Refer ring to a report by the women and child development (WCD) ministry, CBSE secretary said that the report gives insights into how the endemic problem of junk food consumption can be controlled in schools.
As of now, schools have also been urged to take necessary steps in their capacity to ensure non-availability of HFSS food in schools and nearby places, said a circular issued by CBSE Secretary Joseph Emmanuel.
The circular also asked the schools to ensure they promote physical activities for students up to Class X every day and rope in a nutritionist to guide students on life style modifications, including yoga and healthy eating habits.
Besides, the board also asked the schools to not only track the height, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) of all the students but also counsel them and parents about good eating habits during parent-teacher meetings.
In addition, the circular has suggested that awareness events such as celebration of Nutrition Week and other such events should be organised throughout the year by the schools.