12th Mar 2009 - 00:00
A new report from Highland Council has shown that secondary school children would prefer to get their lunch from outlets outside the school gates because they believe local shops, bakeries and takeaways offer better value for money.
Around 145 pupils were interviewed and results show that 50% of them choose not to eat on the school campus, where a meal costs Â£1.85. One pupil was quoted as saying they don't eat at school because they can get "â€¦two Lorne sausages, fried egg in a roll and a bottle of juice for Â£1" elsewhere. The report from the Education, Culture and Sport committee highlighted how secondary school daily meal uptake peaked at 17,044 in the 2007/08 academic year and that the effect of new nutrient standards had been more impacting than originally anticipated. From January 2008 to January 2009, the number of meals being served has dropped by an average of 1,400 per day, equating to 16.6%. From April 2008 to December 2008, uptake fell by 1,000 meals per day losing the council's catering account Â£463,600. "The impact of school meals on pupil's health and wellbeing both now and for the future is becoming more explicit. A school meal provides a nutritious balanced meal for an active and alert mind and body. Meals and snacks bought outwith the school are predominately high in saturated fat, sugar and salt which are the key factors in obesity and can be associated with low self-esteem and attainment," concluded the report.