Healthier school canteen food next year

Thursday, December 08, 2011

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KUALA LUMPUR: Beginning next year, students will have healthier food with adequate calories at school canteens.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the new canteen food guidelines were aimed at helping reduce the obesity rate among young Malaysians.

“The ministry is in the midst of finalising the guidelines. Once it is done, we will send out the circular to schools by this month,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

He explained that the guidelines would display the types of food and calories needed on a daily basis by each age group in the school canteen menus for students to choose from.

The new guidelines follows recommendations from the Health Ministry.

“We want to educate, rather than enforce. We see this as a solution for greater awareness on healthy eating habits and reducing obesity among schoolchildren.”

Wee added that teachers, canteen operators and the parents-teacher associations (PTA) would be required to follow the guidelines.

“We will also send our officers to schools to evaluate the progress of student’s understanding on proper eating habits.”

Wee said both ministries would keep tabs to monitor the effectiveness of the new system.

“The new guidelines are different from previous effort, as students would be educated on healthy eating habits instead of being refrained from eating unhealthy food.”

He said this would help create a greater awareness on healthy eating habits and to stop the rising obesity rate among schoolchildren.

“In the long run students would be encouraged not only to eat right during recess, but also bring the habit back home.”

Wee also explained that students’ Body Mass Index would be calculated twice a year to check on obesity among schoolchildren.

Earlier, there were reports on suggestions to restrict food items sold at school canteens but the ministry decided against it.

These included nasi lemak, which was recommended to be sold only twice in a week.

“Any food can be unhealthy. It is not about the frequency, but how much calories they take and how much of that is burnt.”

He added that canteen operators would still have to follow other rules to not sell jeruk (preserved fruits) or other junk food items.

The existing guidelines were last revised in 2008.

Read more: Healthier school canteen food next year – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/local/general/healthier-school-canteen-food-next-year-1.16463#ixzz1fu4Y9Edg

Tiada arahan wajib SJK sedia makanan halal – Ka Siong

24 November 2011, Khamis

http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2011&dt=1124&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Parlimen&pg=pa_03.htm

KUALA LUMPUR 23 Nov. – Kementerian Pelajaran tidak pernah mengeluarkan arahan mewajibkan mana-mana penguasa kantin di sekolah jenis kebangsaan (SJK) Cina dan Tamil menyediakan makanan halal.

Timbalan Menterinya, Datuk Dr. Wee Ka Siong bagaimanapun berkata, SJK yang mempunyai pelajar beragama Islam sentiasa sensitif dengan perkara yang membabitkan makanan dan mereka selalunya memberi pilihan makanan halal kepada pelajar tersebut.

“Amalan ini sudah lama dijalankan atas dasar hormat-menghormati.

“Pengusaha kantin SJK sudah tahu jika ada orang Islam, jadi mereka sedia bekalan makanan halal yang dipesan daripada pengusaha Islam,” katanya pada sidang akhbar di Parlimen hari ini.

Beliau mengulas tindakan Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri Sembilan baru-baru ini yang mengeluarkan arahan supaya semua pengusaha kantin SJK Cina dan SJK Tamil perlu menyediakan makanan halal di sekolah masing-masing.

Jelasnya, Pengarah Pelajaran negeri itu telah diminta menjalankan siasatan segera berkenaan kekeliruan arahan yang dikeluarkan.

Sementara itu, Ka Siong turut memberi amaran sekali lagi kepada pihak sekolah supaya tidak sewenang-wenangnya membuat potongan wang bantuan sebanyak RM100 yang disediakan kerajaan kepada ibu bapa pelajar.

“Kita masih menerima beberapa laporan menyatakan ada segelintir sekolah yang membuat potongan wang bantuan itu.

“Ikut arahan yang diberi, tolong pulangkan kembali wang bantuan itu,” ujarnya.

SMK Jeram, Kubang Bemban juara kantin bersih

27 Oktober 2011, Khamis

http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2011&dt=1027&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Timur&pg=wt_04.htm

Wan Mansor Hamzah (empat dari kanan) bersama pengetua sekolah yang memenangi Pertandingan Kantin Sekolah Bersih dan Dewan Makan Asrama Bersih 2011 menunjukkan tanda bagus pada majlis penyampaian hadiah di SMK Kubang Bemban, Pasir Mas, baru-baru ini.

 

PASIR MAS 26 Okt. – Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Jeram, Pasir Puteh dan SMK Kubang Bemban di sini diumumkan sebagai juara kategori kantin serta dewan makan bersih pada Pertandingan Kantin dan Dewan Makan Sekolah Menengah Bersih Peringkat Negeri Kelantan 2011.

Tempat kedua kategori kantin dimenangi oleh SMK Pengkalan Chepa dan ketiga, SMK Kubang Golok, Bachok manakala kategori dewan makan pula, naib johan SMK Cherang Ruku, Pasir Puteh dan SMK Badak, Bachok di tempat ketiga.

Majlis yang diadakan di Dewan Bestari SMK Kubang Bemban di sini, disempurnakan oleh Yang Dipertua Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG) sekolah berkenaan, Datuk Hanapi Mamat.

Turut hadir, Timbalan Pengarah Kesihatan Kelantan, Dr. Wan Mansor Hamzah.

Kemenangan itu melayakkan SMK Jeram, Pasir Puteh dan SMK Kubang Bemban mewakili Kelantan ke Pertandingan Kantin dan Dewan Makan Sekolah Menengah Bersih Peringkat Kebangsaan.

Sementara itu Wan Mansor berkata, secara keseluruhan tahap kebersihan kantin dan dewan makan sekolah-sekolah menengah di negeri ini meningkat.

“Bagaimanapun masih ada ruang yang boleh diperbaiki dan ditingkatkan agar makanan yang disajikan benar-benar bersih. Jabatan Kesihatan negeri akan terus memantau dan memberi kerjasama kepada Jabatan Pelajaran negeri bagi memastikan aspek kebersihan dapat ditingkatkan,” katanya.

Pupils scalded as pot of soup falls over

Tuesday October 4, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/10/4/nation/9625037&sec=nation
KUALA TERENGGANU: Two Year One boys were badly burnt when they were scalded by a falling pot of boiling chicken soup.

Hafiz Haikal Mohd Razif suffered 13% burns while his classmate Mohammad Nabil Faris Mohd Azidi suffered 23% burns.

The two were queuing up at the SK Sultan Sulaiman 1 canteen during recess at about 10am yesterday when other boys behind them started pushing each other.

Recovering well: Hafiz Haikal, seven, receiving treatment at Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah in Kuala Terengganu Monday.

Hafiz Haikal and Mohammad Nabil were sent hurling forward, causing the pot to topple from the counter, spilling the soup and scalding them.

The boys were rushed to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital for treatment.

Recalling the incident, Hafiz Haikal said he was behind Mohammad Nabil when the incident occurred.

“We were queuing up as usual but the others behind us were pushing us.

“The next thing I knew, both of us were screaming as we got hot soup all over our bodies,” he said, adding that he suffered burns on his right thigh and arm while Mohammad Nabil suffered burns on his stomach, face and arms.

When met at the hospital, Hafiz Haikal’s aunt Nurul Nadiah Mohd Fauzi, 23, said she was shocked to hear of the incident.

“I am thankful that he and his friend are fine.

“I would have thought canteen operators would have taken more precautions when serving children,” she said.

Hafiz Haikal’s grandfather Mohd Fauzi Abdullah, 52, said more precautions were needed to prevent similar incident from happening.

“I hope the school administrators can get to the bottom of the matter as this concerns the children’s safety.

“My grandson is lucky to survive but how could a pot of boiling soup be placed at a counter when it can easily topple over?” he said.

Sambal sotong meal lands 71 students in hospital

Monday September 26, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/26/nation/9574806&sec=nation
ALOR SETAR: A school hostel canteen here was ordered to be closed by the state Health Department when 71 students suffered food poisoning after consuming a meal containing sambal sotong (spicy squid).

The students were rushed to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital when they complained of stomach ache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhoea after eating the food on Friday night.

Hospital emergency department head Dr Fatahul Laham Mohamed said the students, aged between 15 and 17, were sent to hospital in two buses at about 9.15pm on Saturday.

He said the 40 boys and 31 girls were given outpatient treatment and they returned to the hostel the same night.

State Health Department deputy director Dr Hayati Mohd Radzi said her officers had taken food samples from the canteen for testing.

“Our initial investigations showed that all the students consumed sambal sotong.

“We have ordered the canteen to be temporarily closed for cleaning,” she said.

Dr Hayati said the canteen would only be allowed to reopen after the department was satisfied that it had met hygiene standards.

Better to ban unhealthy food

Tuesday August 2, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/8/2/focus/9205663&sec=focus
 I REFER to the new move by the health and education ministries to introduce the calorie guide to schoolchildren instead of banning 15 food items deemed unhealthy (“Trimming the fat” – The Star, July 28).It is learnt that the guide will outline the amount of calories in each meal. Then it is up to students to choose the best food based on the guide.

In my opinion, it is better to ban undesirable foods than to have the children, who may not even know what is the meaning of calorie, to decide the best food for themselves.

Looking at the implementation of introducing calorie guides to fast food restaurants, does anyone even bother to look at the guides? Or will those guides stop them from buying food there?

Are there studies to show that such guides help to increase the people’s awareness, to control their diet and eventually reducing the rate of obesity among Malaysians?

I’m kind of curious why after the issue of the banning of nasi lemak and etc made the headlines on April, the Education Minister said that the Government would not implement a ban for various reasons, including the welfare of canteen entrepreneurs.

If the Government is really serious about curbing obesity, it should not be afraid to take drastic action for the sake of the rakyat.

FLETCHER F,

Muar, Johor.

Calories guideline to replace food ban list

Saturday July 30, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/7/30/nation/9203201&sec=nation

By FARIK ZOLKEPLI
farik@thestar.com.my

KUALA TERENGGANU: The list of 15 food items deemed unhealthy for children in school canteens will not be introduced. This will instead be replaced with a calories guideline, says Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

However, the Deputy Education Minister said the ministry’s decision to ban unhealthy food such as those with artificial colouring and unhealthy pickled snacks remained.

He said the task force formed by the ministry and the Health Ministry had produced a guideline on the amount of calories that were suitable for students in each meal.

“Students can choose the best food based on the guideline,” he said after attending the launch of the Terengganu MCA convention here yesterday.

“I would like to reiterate that there will be no list. But we expect the guideline to be introduced soon.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who also attended the event, said both ministries had worked hard since last month to determine suitable foodstuff for students.

“Discussions have gone on for quite some time and the end is approaching,” he said.

It was previously reported in April that the Health Ministry’s nutrition division had proposed for the 15 food items to be banned in school canteens.

These included instant noodles, candies, preserved food, food containing artificial flavour as well as processed food like burgers and carbonated drinks.

Parents to be called in for discussions over obese children

Thursday July 28, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/7/28/nation/9188832&sec=nation

By FOONG PEK YEE
pekyee@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The parents of obese children or those who may have the tendency to become obese will be summoned to school for counselling.

This was one of the measures agreed upon in a committee meeting on cleanliness, health and security between the Education and Health ministries on Monday.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who chaired the meeting, said all schoolchildren would have their body mass index (BMI) measurements taken twice a year.

He added that both ministries had agreed that measures taken to check obesity should be educational in approach, be it for the children, parents and canteen operators.

Dr Wee said it would also be mandatory soon for canteen operators to tabulate the calorie counts for the types of food they sell and display them on canteen walls.

“For instance, they must show the calories for mee goreng, kuih, nasi goreng or nasi lemak and also the number of calories required for each meal of the day.

“This will create awareness among children on healthy eating and encourage them to take charge of what they eat,” he added.

On food types that cannot be sold in school canteens, Dr Wee said the School Canteen Management Guidelines 2008 was clear on this and there was no need to be specific.

School food blacklist ready soon

Tuesday July 26, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/7/26/nation/9169665&sec=nation

By FARIK ZOLKEPLI
farik@thestar.com.my

KUALA TERENGGANU: The list of 15 food items deemed unhealthy for children in school canteens is expected to be finalised this month, says Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.

She said the ministry’s Nutrition Division had forwarded its proposal to the Education Ministry and a decision was expected before the end of the month.

“Both ministries will meet this week to finalise the list. We expect to reveal it later this month,” she told The Star yesterday.

Rosnah said among the food items considered to be unhealthy for children are candies, preserved food, food with artificial flavouring, processed food like burgers and nuggets as well as carbonated drinks.

She said the ministry had identified 60 types of healthy food like fried rice, kuey teow soup and noodle soup.

Rosnah said the proposal on the sale of healthy food was vital as the research conducted by Uni­versiti Kebangsaan Malaysia re­­vealed that in 2000, the obesity rate among children aged between seven and 12 was 9.7%.

“It is alarming as in 2008, it had risen to 13.7%,” she said.

Rosnah said the ministry had also forwarded proposals for appropriate food in school vending machines as one way to ensure students maintain a healthy Body Mass Index.

“We don’t want our children to be plagued with obesity.”

Growing up healthy

Sunday July 17, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2011/7/17/education/9081479&sec=education

Children have different growth rates, but with a standardised BMI chart, parents and healthcare providers can keep track of whether they are growing normally.

HAVE you ever wondered whenever you look at your child’s class picture that children from the same class, and in the same age group, come in various shapes and sizes?

Some children might look tiny and scrawny standing next to their friends, but others will literally stand out head and shoulders above the rest.

A student having her height and weight measurements taken to calculate her BMI. — File photo

You might easily make some comparisons, but in reality, each of us grow differently.

Growth rate differs according to gender, age and other environmental factors, and many of these factors vary from one family to the other. However, growth rate tends to follow standard patterns.

So, how do we know whether our children’s growth is normal? Is there any yardstick we can use to keep track of it?

Body measurements such as height and weight are important indicators in population health to evaluate a child’s well-being in terms of nutritional status and physiological needs and to identify any growth discrepancy.

These measurements are normally compared to a reference chart to determine the growth status.

Subjects who are unusual in the sense that their measurement for a particular trait lie in one or the other tail of the distribution curve will be determined, thus helping clinicians and public health workers to diagnose growth-related conditions.

Since the late 1970’s, the National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) World Health Organisation (WHO) growth reference chart has been in use to chart children’s growth worldwide.

WHO released a growth reference chart for school-aged children and adolescents in 2007.

The 2000 CDC growth charts consist of a series of percentile curves that illustrate the distribution of selected body measurements in US children.

They represent the revised version of the 1977 NCHS growth charts. This revised growth charts consist of charts for boys and girls aged two to 20 years, including body mass index-for-age (BMI-for-age) aged two to 20 years, which provide an improved tool for evaluating the growth of children in clinical and research settings.

When doctors or healthcare providers plot a child’s BMI number on the chart, they will be able to see which percentile line that number lies.

The percentile indicates the relative position of the child’s BMI number among children of the same age and gender. The higher the percentile number, the bigger a child is compared with other kids of the same age and gender. On the other hand, the lower the percentile number, the smaller the child is.

Being in high or low percentile does not necessarily mean that a child is healthier or has growth problems.

How do you define a good or a bad growth? A child has gained enough weight if the curve is going up and the slope is parallel to one of the references curves. Even if the child is small, the growth curve should still go up and should be parallel to one of the reference curves to show the child is growing well.

On the other hand, the child’s growth is static if the curve is flat. This is a dangerous sign that needs to be further investigated.

A child has lost weight if the child’s growth curve shows a downward direction. A child’s growth is slowing and the weight gain is less than expected if the curve is less steep than the reference curve.

Doctors in Malaysia have been using the CDC or the WHO charts to assess our children’s growth.

International growth charts allow comparisons to be made between different countries, but regional or national references are more useful in the assessment of local changes in nutritional status.

The need to develop an appropriate single reference centile chart for screening, surveilance and monitoring of school-aged children and adolescents has been motivated by increasing public health concern over childhood obesity, as well as a lack of an acceptable local reference for growth evaluation for Malaysia.

Early studies on weight and height curves for Malaysian school children was highlighted and recorded by ST Chen and AE Dugdale from Universiti Malaya (published in the Medical Journal of Malaya in 1970).

Having a nationwide study to access growth in terms of height and weight involving an appropriate number of children and adolescents to represent the current population of that age is therefore necessary in view of the rapid changes in the country’s economy, lifestyle and nutritional status.

Against this background, a research team from the Universiti Malaya (UM) has conducted a comprehensive nationwide cross-sectional study to model the growth curves of Malaysian school children ranging from 7 to 17 years old, and consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and several indigenous groups. The study was supported by a UM research grant and data was collected with permission from the Education Ministry.

The study has successfully developed a standardised BMI chart for schoolchildren in Malaysia.

This cross-sectional study is based on data obtained from a sample of about 14,000 from schoolchildren all over Malaysia.

The results show the average BMI scores of each age category of our children: BMI scores at or more than 97th percentile: obese; BMI scores between 90th percentile to 97th percentile: overweight; BMI scores between 5th percentile to 90th percentile: healthy / acceptable weight; BMI scores between 3rd percentile to 5th percentile: underweight; BMI scores less than 3rd percentile: severely underweight.

The majority of children who are overweight are also obese and need help with weight management.

Obese children are at higher risks of becoming obese adults and increased risk for chronic diseases later in life, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

With the development of these reference charts, parents, teachers and health providers can perform their own evaluation to determine whether their children are growing normally or otherwise.

This article is written by Assoc Prof Dr Asma Ahmad Shariff (Applied Statistic), Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Majid Mohamed (Biostatistic), Assoc Prof Dr Amir Feisal Merican (Computational biology) and Assoc Prof Dr Zilfalil Bin Alwi (Consultant Pediatrician, USM), and Bong Yii Bonn (PhD candidate), Universiti Malaya.