In an effort to reduce junk foods and fizzy drinks, and promote a healthier lifestyle
24 January 2019| Last updated on 24 January 2019
Parents - you should read this.
In an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle for school children in the UAE, the Ministry of Education has served up a lunchbox ban.
Junk foods, fizzy drinks, doughnuts and processed meats are just a few items amongst those that have been listed.
The ban aims to stop parents from packing unhealthy foods in their child's lunchbox - the ban also covers chocolate bars and spreads, peanuts and even chewing gum.
The new order issued by the authority applies to government schools, although Dubai's private schools would do well to follow suit.
As per The National, school principals are being urged to strictly enforce the new canteen charter, while parents are being encouraged to pack healthier foods.
The lunchbox ban was issued in a circular that was distributed to schools by the Ministry of Education.
"Children getting unhealthy lunches is a problem," said Aisha Alsiri, acting Director of Health and Physical Fitness at the Ministry of Education, to The National.
"It is not acceptable for children to bring these food items to school. These sugary products and unhealthy food items were already not being sold at school, but this is aimed at parents.
"We have a leaflet that we sent to the parents to educate them regarding healthy foods. We already have the canteen project for five years now and we don't provide any unhealthy food in the canteen."
Chocolates, crisps, soft drinks and chewing gum have been banned from school canteens since 2011 in Dubai. But this latest ban is targeting parents making lunches at home.
"Now, we have announced the items that children are not allowed to bring from their homes", Alsiri added.
"We are encouraging them to eat healthy food at school and at home. We want to teach them how to build a healthy lifestyle."
Childhood obesity a growing problem in UAE
The lunchbox ban for parents comes as a fresh measure in efforts to tackle childhood obesity in the country.
Reportedly, 1 in 3 children in the UAE is either obese or overweight - and so this new order is a step forward in reducing that percentage. Although, it's up to parents to help make sure they have the health of their children in mind when packing their lunches.