Free fruit or vegetable proposed for school children in Scotland
School meals are now free for children in the first three years of primary education, but the BMA says its survey of local authorities suggests they have cut back on the amount of fruit and vegetables offered for free outside school meals.
Last year 16 out of Scotland's 32 councils provided free fruit and vegetables but by this year, this had fallen to just 11.
None of the councils provided fruit and veg to children above the age of 8, neither did they provide it more than 3 days a week
BMA Scotland council chairman Peter Bennie said "Providing primary school pupils with free fruit or vegetables means that they are less likely to eat unhealthy snacks between meals and helps to build positive habits that can last throughout their lives.
"It is concerning that several local authorities have actually withdrawn the provision of free fruit and vegetables in schools in recent years."
In September, Scottish Health Survey suggested that children eat even fewer portions of fruit and vegetables than adults. Scottish adults ate an average of 3.1 portions a day whereas children aged 2-15 ate an average of 2.8 portions. Only 14% of children were getting the recommended five portions a day.
The BMA says its survey of 2000 parents of school-aged children in the UK suggests that 8 out of 10 (79%) support the idea of free fruit and vegetables for all primary school children. ■