(File photo)

(File photo)

Wolf Creek Public Schools contribute efforts to healthy food program

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) board is lending support to a Canada-wide program for healthy foods at schools.

Following a presentation from the Coalition for Healthy School Food, the board of trustees agreed to support the coalition’s efforts in advocating the federal and provincial governments for a universal, cost-shared healthy school food program.

The WCPS wrote letters calling on the federal government to implement such a program for all K-12 students, and to ask the Government of Alberta to make an application to use federal school food funding to create a province-wide school food program.

“Studies have shown that these programs can contribute to reducing risk for cardiovascular and chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes,” said Judith McNicol, dietitian student from Alberta Public Health Association. “They have been linked to positive impacts on children’s mental health, including reductions in behaviour and emotional problems, bullying, anxiety and depression.”

McNicol added that it helps create success in learning.

“When children attend school undernourished their energy, concentration, memory and problem solving skills are all affected,” McNicol explained.

Taylor Perez, École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School (ÉSLCHS) Ecovision student, who presented to the board as part of the coalition, said it is the coalition’s belief that all students should have daily access to healthy food at school.

“A Universal School Food Program would allow for all children to have access in a non-stigmatizing manner,” said Perez, adding, the program would serve nourishing and culturally appropriate foods, with education that goes beyond meals, while providing an opportunity to foster food literacy.

Additionally, it could build on existing programs to incorporate local knowledge and use local food.

The coalition spoke about inequities in school food programs across Canada, as they said only 35 per cent of schools in Canada have one or more government funded school food program.

Wolf Creek has a number of existing food programs in place throughout the division, and the board sees supporting this initiative as building on that trend.

“We are proud of the leadership being shown by our students and staff to bring this forward, but also in spearheading local initiatives within Wolf Creek. The Board is excited by the efforts of the Coalition and happy to lend our support,” said Luci Henry, WCPS Board Chair.

By endorsing the program, Wolf Creek joins more than 70 other organizations nation-wide.