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Caithness Primary School Pupils Are Healthy Highlanders

6th February 2009

Pupils at a Caithness primary school have been named as the winners of a competition to celebrate Healthy Highland Week in which they had to suggest healthy alternatives to sweets as rewards.

Members of SNAG, the School's Nutrition Action Group, at South Primary School in Wick were presented with a cheque for the school on Wednesday (February 4) for coming up with the best ideas in the competition organised by NHS Highland.

NHS Highland Oral Health Improvement Coordinator, Jennie Rawlins, and Fiona Macleod, who is a former Health Promoting Schools officer, asked the children to think of rewards they would like and value, which could be used within schools.

Their suggestions for individuals or classes included fruit, stickers or rosettes, magazines, books, swimming sessions and other healthy or fun activities.

They also suggested time to play in class and a points system, with termly or yearly prizes, such as fruit, toothbrushes, toothpaste or a fun visit to the dentist.

Mrs Rawlins explained that frequent consumption of sugary food or drinks is a significant risk factor for dental decay.

She said: "The yearly National Dental Inspection Programme shows us that there are still many children across Highland with dental decay which may cause pain, infection and the need for preventable dental treatments.

"Each child was asked to think of an inexpensive alternative to sweets that they would value as a reward. The competition worked well as a homework exercise as it gave families a chance to discuss healthier options as rewards."

Pat Bowers, who is the head teacher at South Primary School, was delighted with the children's winning ideas.

She said: "The children of our SNAG came up with some super ideas. They are so enthusiastic. We hope to try some of the healthy rewards. They are so aware of what is healthy - let's hope that they continue to make the right choices."

Health Promoting Schools Manager, Louise Jones, congratulated all the schools that took part.

She said: "It's great that schools are supporting children to make healthy choices as rewards and working with children to provide consistent messages about their health and wellbeing."

Schools are working towards incorporating health and wellbeing, including nutrition, in a whole school approach.

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007, which commenced in primary schools in August 2008, also requires all food and drink provided in schools to comply with nutritional regulations.


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