The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has announced that it is launching an inspection programme to ensure that schools are adhering to strict new health and nutrition guidelines. The rules came into effect at the beginning of this school year and apply to all schools in the emirate.
The guidelines cover everything from the nutritional value of food, through additives and preservatives as well as the wrapping, transportation and storage of food.
The new programme is part of a general effort by authorities in the UAE to tackle the issue of childhood obesity. According to a study published last year one in three children in the UAE is obese or overweight. The new rules state that schools must encourage pupils to participate in regular exercise and specify that no child is allowed to substitute physical education classes for any other subject unless for medical reasons.
“Nutrition and physical activity go hand-in-hand, and during the formative years children need to adapt to this lifestyle so that they will grow into healthy adults who value the importance of exercise and nutritious eating,” said Dr Wafa Ayesh, director of clinical nutrition at the Dubai Health Authority.
Last year the DHA carried out a healthy lunch box campaign across 80 private and government schools in Dubai targeting more than 5,000 children.
See also: Eating your way to Academic success