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A school day packed with vitamins and mineral salts thanks to seasonal fruit and vegetables

Fruitylife: fruit and vegetables at school are good for children's health and for parents' wallets

Mediterranean diet in crisis, snacking with junk food at breaks, children increasingly at risk of obesity and unable to recognize fruit and vegetables because absent from the dining table. The latest data presented by Ipsos for Save the Children show a clear trend: in Italy more and more children and adolescents eat less fruit and vegetables. If in 2012 37% of them said they eat fruit and vegetables at every meal, this percentage decreased to 35% in 2014 and the rate of those who eat fruit and vegetables once a day dropped from 39% to 35%. On the rise are those who admit to never eating fruit and vegetables, or only do it twice a week, are up 25% to 31%.

Even one of the largest study (the IDEFICS study published in July 2014) conducted by the European Union on a sample of 16,220 children from 2 to 10 years old, living in Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden, showed two alarming facts: Italian children are the most obese and overweight among those examined and the worst consumers of vegetables in quantities. In Italy, over 20% of children are overweight and 11% obese.

Wrong dietary choices are the reasons for this situation, choices that in this particular economic time could be changed, going back to a diet that could be good for children’s health and for the parent's wallet.

"Giving children and teenagers seasonal fruit and vegetables helps them to have a healthy diet, balanced and varied. The many substances contained in these products, as a part of a proper diet, certainly helps everyone to stay healthy, and to cope with stress related to seasonal change - says Massimo Brusaporci, director of Alimos-Alimenta la Salute, the cooperative coordinating the Fruitylife 'Fruit and vegetables, healthy and safe' project co-funded by the European Union with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy, that promotes the consumption of European fruit and vegetables, in partnership with another five important Italian cooperatives in the agri-food sector (Alegra, Apofruit Italy, Conor, Naturitalia and Orogel Fresco) - Nature is wise and offers us its tasty fruits and its fresh vegetables at the right time for our body. Consuming these foods and respecting their seasonality is a way to take care of ourselves. Moreover, fruit and vegetables, are not only good for children's health, but also for the parent's wallet. Their prices per kilo are much lower than the typical packaged snacks."

To assist parents in this food challenge, the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by 20 Regional Councillors for Agriculture provides that vending machines in schools, can no longer sell "junk food". So it is the right time for fruit and vegetables, fresh or dried, whole or IV range (peeled and cut into small pieces as practical singly wrapped items) purchased from the machine or brought from home, eaten during the break to face the school day with the right amount of vitamins, fibres and minerals. From apples to tangerines, from chestnuts to carrots, to freshly-squeezed juice to a savoury pie made with spinach and other vegetables: use your fantasy for a healthy and nutritious snack.

"Fruitylife considers this initiative in line with its campaign to promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables - continues Brusaporci - that is essential for proper nutrition and an indispensable prerequisite for everyone's well-being, both children and adults. The Fruitylife project supports the importance of a varied diet and a balanced nutrition, focused on the seasonality of fruit and vegetables."

Visit to find out that not only the calendar of seasonal produce and information on proper nutrition, but also quick and practical suggestions on how to bring creative fruit and veg options to the table every day. The website also meet the consumer’s need for information about the European production chain, the safety and quality guarantee and the traceability of fruit and vegetables.
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