Free fruit in Falkirk schools

The BMA in Scotland is wanting children of all ages in primary school to receive free fruit and vegetables
The BMA in Scotland is wanting children of all ages in primary school to receive free fruit and vegetables

Children in primary school should receive free fruit and veg as a snack, is a proposal being made by doctors.

The British Medical Association in Scotland has highlighted the idea in its manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections next year.

However, Falkirk Council is one of the local authorities which doesn’t currently offer pupils fruit and vegetables as a snack.

Council chairman, Peter Bennie said: “We are laying out our ideas early so the Government knows exactly what we believe should be done to create healthy lifestyles.”

The BMA, which represents 16,000 doctors in Scotland, wants the Government to fund their proposal so that all council areas can give children a healthy snack at break time.

Last year 16 of the 32 council areas provided free fruit and vegetables to youngsters in the first three years of education, but the figure has dropped to just 11 this year.

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We stopped providing free fruit to all P1-P3 pupils around 18 months ago as we found that the uptake was very low and as a consequence we had significant waste.

“We now provide a fruit bowl which is available to all primary school pupils at lunchtime.”

The BMA believes that by giving children a healthy snack, it will teach them good habits for a lifetime.

Peter said: “Snacks do not have to be unhealthy, that is what we want to teach young children.”

With only 14 per cent of children getting their five a day and on average children aged 2-15 eating 2.8 portions of fruit a day, the BMA is worried about local councils stopping the free fruit.

Peter said: “It is concerning that several local authorities have actually scrapped the provision of free fruit and vegetables in schools in recent years.

“Action is needed to address this variation and ensure that primary school pupils in all parts of the country benefit equally from free fruit and vegetables.”

A survey of 2000 parents, conducted by the BMA suggested that eight out of ten supported the idea of free fruit and vegetables for all primary school children.