Ontario is helping more children and youth eat nutritious meals at school so they can be healthier, concentrate better and learn more effectively.
As part of the Healthy Kids Strategy, the province is investing an additional $3 million in Ontario›s Student Nutrition Program to create more than 200 new breakfast and morning meal programs for approximately 33,000 kids in higher-needs communities, including First Nations communities.
This increased funding will also support the hiring of 14 food distribution and logistics co-ordinators across the province. Co-ordinators will work with new and existing programs to build stronger partnerships with local businesses and food distribution networks resulting in more efficient channels to purchase, transport and store food.
The Student Nutrition Program has been shown to influence overall student health and improve learning and behavioural outcomes. A recent research report found that more than three-quarters of high school students who eat breakfast regularly are on track to graduate, while suspension rates have decreased by half since the implementation of these programs.
Providing nutritious meals and snacks in more schools across the province supports the Ontario government›s efforts to give every child a healthy start in life. This is part of the government›s economic plan to invest in people, invest in infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate across the province.
- As part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy released in 2008, the government has more than doubled its support for the Student Nutrition Program to $17.9 million in 2012-13.
- During the 2011-12 school year, over 690,000 elementary and secondary school students across the province benefited from more than 4,100 breakfast, lunch and snack programs.
- The Healthy Kids Panel was appointed in May 2012 as part of the Action Plan for Health Care to advise the government on how to tackle childhood overweight and obesity in Ontario.