- Over 4 million kids in England and Wales eat school dinners every day and 1.8 million are on free school meals.
- This lunchtime meal provides them with one third of their daily nutritional intake.
- It is prepared by the 110,000 dinner ladies who work in school kitchens.
- And have on average between 35p and 45p to spend on food per meal, the cost of a bag of crisps. This is not enough to provide a nutritionally balanced meal.
- The average dinner lady wage is just £82 per week. These ladies run some of the most important catering institutions in the country.
- The value of meals served in educational establishments is over
£1.1 billion each year. School meals is big
- 92% of kids consume more saturated fat; 83%, more sugar; and 50%, more salt than the maximum recommended levels for adults. And they only eat one quarter of the recommended daily amount of fruit and veg.
- Obesity levels in children have risen by over 50% in just seven years - 15.5% of kids under 11 are now obese.
- Teenagers, especially girls, are lacking in iron and calcium.
- The recent DfES survey of secondary schools showed none met all of the Caroline Walker Trust guidelines over a one-week menu cycle, even though the balance of food satisfied the National Nutritional Standards. (School Meals in Secondary Schools in England, DfES, 2004).
- Poor nutrition contributes to at least 30% of deaths from heart disease and 33% of deaths from cancer.
- In another ten years time, the projected cost of tackling
obesity and diet-related illnesses will be £3.6