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Interim Fresh Fruit Evaluation in Schools Report


Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland

Subject Keywords: Scheme to promote healthy eating and reduce inequalities in schools
Topic: Obesity
Health Inequalities
Chronic Conditions
Health Inequalities
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Key Irish Projects
Type: Report
Region: Northern Ireland

In October 2002 the Fresh Fruit in Schools scheme was launched. The scheme has its roots in the public health strategy, Investing for Health. This strategy, developed by a cross-departmental group (the Ministerial Group on Public Health) and launched in 2002, provides a framework for action to improve health and wellbeing which focuses in particular on the sources of good health and on inequalities in health. The Fresh Fruit in Schools scheme was developed by the Investing for Health team at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland (HPA) and the four Health Action Zones (HAZs) as a pilot project that would initially provide free fruit to selected schools. Funding for the scheme was secured by the Ministerial Group on Public Health to run between October 2002 and June 2004. The scheme was coordinated regionally by the Investing for Health team and managed and delivered locally by the four HAZs. The Fresh Fruit in Schools scheme aims to provide one piece of fruit per day to children in P1 and P2. The main objective of the scheme is to raise awareness of the benefits of fruit consumption among children and to instil healthy eating practices at an early age. In total, 87 schools were chosen from within the four HAZ areas to participate in the scheme. Schools were selected on the basis of deprivation criteria such as higher provision of free school meals (FSM) and elevated scores on a scale for decayed, missing or filled teeth (DMF). In addition to existing local experience, a similar scheme, the National School Fruit Scheme, has already been piloted in more than 500 schools in England. The initial evaluation there showed that the scheme was popular with the children, their parents and teachers. There is some evidence that the scheme is encouraging children to choose fruit. In some instances children are reported to have overcome their initial reluctance to eat fruit or to try new fruits, largely as a result of positive peer influence. The evaluation of the National School Fruit Scheme also highlighted a number of wider benefits in the school. For example, teachers report that the scheme is a support to teaching and learning about healthy eating and has been used to support science, numeracy and literacy in schools. Other benefits of the scheme included improved attention levels, an increased ability to settle down to work and better behaviour generally among the children. Aims of the Fresh Fruit in Schools pilot scheme: - to provide access to fruit for P1 and P2 children within selected schools; - to promote awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and good food hygiene; - to encourage children to develop the habit of eating fruit; - to encourage children to adopt and sustain healthy eating patterns in school, at home and in the community. This report briefly outlines how the scheme was organised and presents summary findings from the evaluation of the first two years of the scheme. The evaluation examined the process of introducing and managing the scheme, and assessed the impact on schools, the children and their parents.



Rights: © Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland
Suggested citation:

Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland. (2005) Interim Fresh Fruit Evaluation in Schools Report [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 22nd August 2019].


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