European Union Funds “Fruit in Schools” Program

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The numbers are alarming. According to the World Health Organization, every third child in Europe is obese. That is why in 2009 the EU-Commission created the “Fruit in School” program, which is supposed to sensitize children to conscious eating and a  healthy diet as early on as possible. The system behind this program is simple; the EU-Commission subsidizes countries that are members of the European Union to partner up with schools and provide the students with health snacks, such as apples, bananas or carrots, up to fives times a week. Recently the EU-Commission announced that they were increasing the funds available for this project for the upcoming school year (2014/2015) from twelve million to 19 million euros. The program is supposed to change the attitude of students toward fruit and vegetables, so that in the long run healthy and natural foods will become a regular part of their diets. Furthermore, the EU-Commission is hoping that “Fruit in Schools” will improve the relationship between farmers and children, as well as between parents and teachers by making them collaborate in the organization of this project in their specific area. In order to raise awareness about the negative effects of the consumption of fast food, the EU-Commission is also planning on initiating a campaign advocating against fast food and for fresh produce.  

Other than positive feedback from participating schools, there is not much information on the effectiveness of this program. Generally, the idea is good: introducing healthy eating to the future generation is the only way to stop the trend towards fast food and obesity. However, it is questionable that children will stop eating junk food while they are at home because the healthy food is only available to them in school.