The objective of the campaign, coordinated by the Department of Education and Culture and the Department of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and the Environment, is to increase its consumption and make families and the educational community aware of the importance of a healthy diet. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and the Environment have convened a new edition of the 'Fruit and vegetable consumption program in schools' which, among other objectives, aims to sensitize students about the benefits of consuming these foods and their essential character for good health.
Last year, 422 educational centers participated, with a total of 84,995 schoolchildren, and 89,610 rations were scheduled to be distributed in each delivery, a fact that was suspended in March due to the pandemic situation. The program for the 2020/2021 academic year, with a budget of 690,000 euros, is aimed at all educational centers in the Region of Murcia that provide Primary Education and Special Education Centers.
It is aimed at supplying fruit for students from 1st to 6th grade of Primary Education, to whom a minimum of 12 servings of fruit and vegetables are distributed.
Each student will receive a portion in each of the deliveries, considering a portion between 80 and 140 grams of product, equivalent to a medium piece of fruit (pear, apple, banana, etc.).
This program also includes carrying out support and accompaniment measures in order to create healthy consumption habits in the participating students. The centers will be able to choose if they want to participate in the distribution of all the products or if they prefer not to accept the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables (chopped, washed and ready to eat) that require a reusable and recyclable plastic container that guarantees the hygienic-sanitary conditions during the transport and handling period. The general director of Educational Innovation and Attention to Diversity, Carlos Albaladejo, highlighted the importance of a campaign that, among its objectives, "seeks to bring students closer to fruit and vegetables, so that their consumption is gradually increased, and raise awareness among families and the educational community of the importance of a healthy and varied diet in the early acquisition of healthy habits, contributing to a better quality of life ".
It is also about programming and developing actions aimed at promoting healthy eating in the students of the Region. As a consequence of changes in social and work lifestyles that Spanish society has experienced, a strong increase in obesity has been detected in the population, which in the last 20 years has meant an increase of 5 to 16 percent in the child population between 6 and 10 years old. Experts agree that a healthy diet plays a key role in reducing obesity rates and the risks of serious diseases in adulthood.
For this, it is essential that the diet includes a sufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables. An eleven year plan In order to promote their consumption by the school population, the European Union, within the framework of the Common Market Organization, agreed in 2009 to co-finance with the Member States the distribution of these products in educational centers. Thus, in the 2009-2010 school year, the 'Plan for the consumption of fruit and vegetables at school' began in Spain, with funding from the European Union, the autonomous communities and the Ministry of Agriculture. In the Autonomous Community they are the Ministries of Education and Culture, through the General Directorate of Educational Innovation and Attention to Diversity, and of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Environment, through the General Directorate of Agriculture, Industry Alimentaria y Cooperativismo Agrario, which coordinate the development and implementation of the plan, which is aimed at students from 1st to 6th grade of Primary Education. The distribution of fruits and vegetables, in relation to the current pandemic situation due to covid-19, will be conditioned to the instructions decreed by the health authorities.