3 Jun 2004

Tongan doctor to lobby government over fatty school food

8:30 pm on 3 June 2004

The director of Tonga's diabetes centre is to present proposals to the government to make school food more healthy for children.

Revised data from the International Obesity Task Force show 46 point 65 per cent of men and 70 point 3 per cent of women in Tonga suffer from obesity.

Doctor Taniela Palu says he's preparing a report for the Ministry of Education which blames school canteens for the problem.

Doctor Palu says schools are serving up fat-laden pancakes for children to eat in the morning and at lunchtime.

"The findings will be used to propose to them what is appropriate, and what should be available in the school canteen. Also of course we need to encourage the participation of parents in the school canteen."

Doctor Palu says the government of Tonga has to bring back two periods of physical education a week to the school curriculum, as he says its abandonment in recent years has led to health problems.