Ice hockey players from Swindon Wildcats launched a new healthy vending machine at Swindon Academy as part of a campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to encourage pupils to eat healthier snacks and meals during the school day.
As part of its Food4Thought campaign, the BHF is working with 30 schools across the UK to pilot healthy vending machines and Swindon Academy is one of the selected schools.
Aaron Neil, player at Swindon Wildcats, said: “As sportspeople we know the importance of eating healthily and keeping fit. We can only play to our best capabilities if we look after our mind and our bodies and the only way we can do that is by eating the right food, exercising and training regularly.
“However, we also know that it can be too easy and too tempting to snack on the wrong sort of food, so we think installing healthy vending machine in schools is a fantastic idea as it makes the right food choices more accessible and more appealing.”
Pupils in the 30 selected schools will play a key role in deciding how the vending machines are run, with one school winning a prize at the end of the school year. If successful, the BHF hopes other schools will use their model to set up their own healthy vending machines in the future. This is one of a number of initiatives the school runs in order to encourage the school community to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Nick Warren, Assistant Principal at Swindon Academy, said: “We’re delighted to pilot the healthy vending machine. The pupils have thoroughly enjoyed working on the project – designing the machine and choosing the items to be sold and have been looking forward to the machine arriving. We think it’s a great idea and are confident the pupils will embrace it and enhance their daily school diet.”
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the BHF said: “Our recent survey found that nearly one in three (28%) secondary school kids in the South West indulge in sweets, chocolate and crisps more than three times a day.
“Everyone likes a treat once in a while, but we need to have a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise to be able to enjoy treats without ruining our hearts and our health. We hope the healthy vending machines will encourage kids to make the right food choices and improve their health now and in the future.”
The BHF has a range of information available for parents to help children lead a healthier lifestyle. Visit bhf.org.uk/junkfood for more information.