New app highlights health benefits of school catered lunches

health, school, lunch
20/04/2018 - 08:58
The London borough of Havering launched England’s first council-created app this week, to promote healthy eating to primary and junior school children.

The Veggie Run app, which presents the newly created Crunch Bunch team, was designed in partnership with local children and is supported by public health programme Change4Life to address the rising obesity epidemic in the borough and highlight the health benefits of a school catered lunch.  

The app, along with the Crunch Brunch characters, was specially designed to appeal to children aged four to 11 years old. It aims to teach children to dodge unhealthy foods and earn rewards by collecting fruit and vegetables.

Dennis Brewin, head of HES Catering Services, said: “One of the main reasons the app was developed was due to recent evidence that only one percent of packed lunches are healthy.

“We hope that by playing the game the majority of the 23,720 Havering primary and junior school children currently registered in school in the borough will be able to identify the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods.”

Users will also be able to view weekly school lunch menus and parents can purchase meals via app links. HES Catering Services aims to see a 10% increase in school meal uptake over the next 12 months.  

Playing Veggie Run, Havering school children can compete towards winning sports prizes for themselves and their school each term. When a child logs into the game they add their details and their schools unique reference code to start competing.  

There are also opportunities for pupils to receive credit towards free catered lunches for one week, or a new bike.   

The council has worked with Engayne Primary School in Upminster since last summer, developing children’s ideas on what they thought an app needed to do to encourage healthy eating.

Brewin said all Crunch Brunch characters in Veggie Run will be consistently used across all new primary and junior school menus in the borough, to ensure children see the direct link between game play and healthy eating.

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