Foods Served in Schools Should Support Learning Instead of Fundraising at the Expense of Children’s Health

Foods Served in Schools Should Support Learning Instead of Fundraising at the Expense of Children’s Health


  • The 2022 B.C. School Food Guidelines is a voluntary system that supports healthy food environments in schools.
  • The proposed B.C. School Food Guidelines only affects food sold or served to students and does not affect bagged lunches brought from home.
  • 57% of youth are not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
  • 30% of youth eat processed snack foods five days a week.
  • 15% of youth consume sugary drinks daily.


Vancouver, B.C., April 7, 2022 – Nutritious food is key to healthy childhood development and mental wellness, which is why BC Alliance for Healthy Living (BCAHL) is encouraging schools, school districts, parents and Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) to support healthy food environments in schools through the proposed 2022 BC School Food Guidelines.

The guidelines, developed by health experts and dietitians, is voluntary and aims to support schools as they move toward providing nourishing food to students, while also giving room for flexibility for each school’s – and their students’ – needs. Foods brought from home will not be affected by the proposed guideline, as the guidelines do not dictate what parents are able to provide their children.

BCAHL Executive Director Rita Koutsodimos said, “Our alliance of health organizations supports these guidelines for children’s health today and to avoid disease in the future. Nutritious food is needed to fuel children’s activity and learning; studies show that healthy food contributes to academic achievement by helping children to maintain a positive mood and focus on their studies.”

According BCAHL’s latest polling research, A Healthier Recovery for BC, British Columbians across the province place a high priority on healthy eating and mental health.

However, the reality of the dietary patterns among youth is much starker: according to parents surveyed, 57% of youth are not eating enough fruits and vegetables daily, 30% eat processed snack foods more than five days a week, and 15% consume sugary drinks almost daily.

These concerning numbers put this generation on a trajectory for developing chronic diseases later in life, including type-2 diabetes, heart diseases and certain cancers. Healthy eating and physical activity also closely correlate with mental health, and unfortunately the polling indicated that nearly 40% of youth show signs of depression or anxiety.

Koutsodimos said we can turn these numbers around and create a positive impact in our youth’s health by adopting the BC School Food Guide.

“We were surprised at the backlash to the guidelines from certain parents, this shows how the system is currently under-resourced and not supporting the health and well-being of our children.  Our schools shouldn’t have to rely on the sale of highly processed foods high in salt, sugar, fat and chemicals in order to pay for field trips and computers,” she said.

“We see the guidelines as a starting point and hope that the province will add resources to build on the federal commitment to a Universal Healthy School Food Program so that all children in BC can benefit from a school environment that supports their health and well-being.”

The good news is British Columbians overwhelmingly support initiatives to improve youth health and well-being. 82% support providing healthy meals to students in all public schools, and over 80% support grants and programs to increase accessibility of healthy food and food skills.

BCAHL supports the BC School Food Guidelines and is urging parents, PACs and schools to support and adopt them as well to ensure schools are providing youth with nutrient-rich meals and snacks, which will positively impact healthy development, mental wellness, and academic achievement.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Twila Amato
Communications Specialist
BC Alliance for Healthy Living

C: 604-655-7883

Rita Koutsodimos
Executive Director
BC Alliance for Healthy Living

C: 604-989-4546