Getting sugar out of school canteens



Published October 28, 2014 - Sarah Sharples, reporter

SugarIWC.jpgA LACK of leadership from government means school canteens are leading children to a potential life of obesity, the University of Sydney’s Dr Kieron Rooney said.

He said mandatory guidelines for school canteens are out of date and not enforced.

"Quite often, pupils and parents can't change the food in the canteen as junk food sells," he said.

"Effectively that means canteens won't change if they are making money - it's a big ethical issue."

Along with his partner, Dr Rooney plans his six-year-old son's lunch box, which usually includes fresh fruit, vegetables and sandwiches.

Yet he said it isn't easy. 

"We are having the battles on why he can't take Tiny Teddies to school as all the other kids do," he said.

"We shouldn't have to have that battle. What we're doing is the healthy way."

"It shouldn't be the exception, it should be the norm - and to make it the norm we need a concerted effort from government to educate families, children and schools."

Balmain state Greens MP Jamie Parker is appalled that the NSW guidelines for canteens are more than 10 years old, and out of step with national and international standards.

Mr Parker has raised the issue in parliament and has started a petition he will present to the government.

"Selling products high in added sugar at schools does nothing to combat childhood obesity or contribute to kids' physical and mental health," he said.  


  • MP Jamie Parker launched the Campaign for Healthy Kids, aiming to get 10,000 signatures for a petition.
  • Parliament requires hard copy signatures. 
  • Find it at



Read more on our Healthy Kids Campaign

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