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Calorie count for canteen food

The Star

Thursday, 16/06/2011

Calorie count for canteen food
By AMINUDDIN MOHSIN

PETALING JAYA: Educating students on healthy eating habits is the solution to the unhealthy canteen food issue, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

"It is not whether nasi lemak should be sold in canteens. It is about educating children on the calorie count of canteen dishes," he said.

Students, parents and school authorities should also be aware of the types of activities to burn calories, he added.

"We believe this is a better way to handle the issue of canteen food. Instead of just banning certain items from the menu, we state the calorie count of each individual dish," said Dr Wee during the launch of EzLearn2U at SMK Bandar Utama Damansara 3.

Certain food and beverages, such as carbonated drinks and pickled fruits, are banned from canteens and this is stated in the contract that canteen operators have to sign before they start to operate, he added.

"A manual for canteen operators has been available for a long time and canteen operators are expected to abide by the rules stated there," said Dr Wee.

He added that the Education and Health Ministries will be finalising amendments to the manual on June 22, which would be circulated to schools by the end of the month.

"We will also jointly publish the calorie count of all canteen dishes," he said.

On the biannual check on Body Mass Index (BMI), Dr Wee stressed that no party should make a fuss over it as the check has been in place for a long time.

"We check the BMI of students twice a year so we can recommend what sports they should play to help reduce their body weight," Dr Wee said.

All parties involved should educate students on what the BMI is and teach them how to use the food pyramid from a young age, added Dr Wee.

In April, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said nasi lemak would not be removed from the school canteen menu.
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