Oops, free school meals scheme is just making pupils fat


The whole “feed kids at school” movement in the UK has had negligible academic benefit, and a huge impact on obesity.

The [UK] Government’s [1 billion dollar] free school meals scheme is failing to make children healthier or significantly boost their grades, new figures suggest.

The costly initiative to provide nutritious hot lunches to all pupils in the first three years of primary school was launched two years ago, with supporters claiming that it could help cut obesity and raise academic standards.

But an analysis of tens of thousands of children shows it has had little impact on either, and may even have resulted in children getting fatter.

Critics of the scheme said it was ‘expensive gesture politics’ and called for the money to be spent on other areas of education.

The initiative was launched by the Coalition Government in 2014 to encourage pupils to switch from eating packed lunches of sandwiches, crisps and fizzy drinks.

At the high-profile launch, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, said studies had shown that pupils who ate proper lunches were up to two months ahead in their work compared to those who preferred packed lunches of sandwiches and sweets.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is also a fan. Last year he backed doctors who warned that the obesity crisis would worsen if free meals were scrapped.

Now official figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday for two pioneering London boroughs, Newham and Islington – where it was decided five years ago to introduce the scheme for all primary school children – have undermined these claims.

The NHS figures reveal that 24.7 per cent of pupils who left Newham primaries in 2011 were classed as obese, while for leavers in 2015, who had enjoyed five years of free meals, the percentage had risen to 27.4.

In Islington, the proportion of obese 11-year-olds was 21.8 per cent in 2011, but rose to 22.8 per cent in 2015. In London primary schools as a whole, the figure went from 21.9 per cent to 22.6 per cent in the same period.

Only true idiots think that government makes a better parent than parents.  Sure, there are some kids who need help along the way, but to introduce school-provided meals, thereby replacing what loving parents put inside lunch boxes, apparently has had exactly the opposite result.

Kids are less healthy, and there is no discernible upswing in academic performance.

Let parents be parents.  Apparently, most know what they’re doing.


– Daily Mail

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