Limit schoolchildren's access to convenience foods

PHOTO: ST FILE

It is worrying to see that students nowadays have unhealthy diets.

I have observed many of them consuming convenience foods like instant noodles and microwaveable food near their schools after being dismissed. Such a trend has been exacerbated by the proliferation of convenience shops like Cheers or 7-11 near schools.

This impedes the Government's drive to promote healthy living.

Convenience foods are usually laden with a lot of salt and preservatives, and have little nutritional content. Frequent consumption of such food can be detrimental to one's health.

For children, healthy eating is imperative for the body to get sufficient nutrients.

I believe schools are doing their part during health education lessons to inculcate the importance of healthy living to students, but apparently these efforts are not enough.

Teachers should step up efforts to encourage healthy eating habits among children. It would be a good idea to make school food more enticing, so children will consider having their lunch there and not at convenience stores.

The Government should consider removing convenience stores from the vicinity of schools. It will not solve the problem entirely, but reduced access might discourage students from patronising those shops.

Similar to what has been done with game arcades, the Government can also consider imposing restrictions on the sale of convenience food to schoolchildren in uniform during certain hours at such outlets.

Encouraging businesses to set up food outlets selling affordable and wholesome meals near schools may also entice students to have meals there.

In addition, if parents and caregivers do their part to prepare healthy after-school lunches for their children, it will encourage them to have their meals at home instead of relying on convenience foods to satisfy their hunger.

Schoolchildren may not be mature enough to think about the consequences of poor eating habits, thus those in positions of authority should be responsible enough to step in and manage them.

Sean Lim Wei Xin