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Minister tells kids to tuck in to Food Bars.

Byline: Sam Ryall

RURAL Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones returned to his old school yesterday to offer the latest pupils some important advice.

Mr Jones launched the first GO2 Food Bar pilot scheme in Brynteg School in Bridgend.

The initiative encourages children to be more aware of the benefits of a nutritious diet, with all the produce used in the meals coming from local suppliers. And children were given the chance to win prizes like gift vouchers.

Mr Jones said: "Locally sourced food is not only about providing schoolchildren with nutritional meals from quality products.

"It is also about helping the local economy, improving longterm health and looking after the environment.

"In Wales, we are lucky to have a wide variety of high quality food.

"It's fair to say that school dinners have improved since I was here and GO2 bars represent a further step forward."

The pupils' reaction to the new scheme will be measured over a month and, if successful, it will be used in more Welsh schools this autumn.

Children's health has become a national concern since the publication of figures by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which showed that one in three youngsters between the ages of two and seven do not achieve even the minimum recommended levels of exercise.

By the time they are 15, almost two-thirds of girls do so little exercise that they are classified as "inactive".

In the past 10 years, the number of obese six-year-olds has doubled while the number of obese 15-year-olds has tripled.

But the BHF and the Health Education Authority say that just one hour of exercise a day could transform the health of children, not just now but well into their adult lives.

They recommend that children between the ages of five and 18 participate in at least one hour of moderate intensity every day.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 23, 2002
Words:307
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