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Draft resolution No. 398/X "Recommends to the Government the free distribution of fruit and vegetables in schools and other measures aimed at preventing and combating childhood obesity."
EXPLANATORY STATEMENT I-the strategy for Europe in terms of health problems related to nutrition, overweight and obesity. On 30 May 2007, the European Commission has defined a strategy for health problems related to nutrition, overweight and obesity, which includes information and education campaigns aimed at specific vulnerable public, in cooperation with the Member States. Over the past three decades, levels of overweight and obesity in the EU population increased dramatically, especially in children. This trend, according to the white paper on a strategy for Europe in the area of Nutrition-related health problems, indicates a worsening of poor diet and physical activity in the population of the EU, which predisposes to increased incidences of several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, the strokes certain cancers, musculo-skeletal disorders and even mental illness. In the long run, this will have a negative impact on life expectancy and will mean to many, a lower quality of life. The European Commission presented in July 2008 1 8 proposal for the creation of a EU-wide programme to distribute free fruit and vegetables to school children of the first cycle of basic education. With this initiative, the European Commission aims to promote, with the school population, healthy eating habits, according to the studies carried out, will have a tendency to remain throughout life.
The programme envisages the provision of 90 million euros (co-financing of 50%, and 75% for convergence regions), to cover about 26 million children in 27 of the Member States of the European Union in the next academic year (2009/2010). In the EU, it is estimated that there are about of 22 million overweight children, of which more than 5 million are obese. According to the report adopted by the Committee on the environment, public health and food safety of the European Parliament, on September 25, it is expected that by 2010 more than 1,300,000 of children will be overweight or become obese. The improvement of nutrition can play an important role in combating this problem, the World Health Organization of the United Nations as one of the most serious public health challenges in the 21st century, and whose prevention must be a priority in public policies. The common agricultural policy (Cap) is, by your time, an instrument as regards the achievement of the objectives in the field of public health, through the reform of the common market organisation (CMO) in fruit and vegetables. In this reform, the Commission has undertaken to encourage the distribution of surplus production to public education institutions and to children's holiday centres. On the other hand, the Commission still use other instruments to encourage a healthier diet in Europe by promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables, such as conducting awareness and information campaigns aimed at young consumers, and the creation of a project that encourages the consumption of fruit at school, with community co-financing.
II – obesity as A major public health problem, obesity is an enormous public health problem, the high prevalence, chronicity, morbidity and mortality that accompanies it, as well as by the difficulty and complexity of your treatment, as presented in the national health plan 2004-2010.
Obesity is a growing problem in Europe. It is estimated that the prevalence in your various countries lies between 20 and 35%, particularly worrying trend among children from disadvantaged socio-economic strata. Portugal is one of the EU countries with the highest prevalence of overweight children, possessing an estimated rate in 34%, or one in every three Portuguese children have excessive weight and one in 10 is obese. The numbers of this scourge have been triple in many European countries, since 1980. The growth rate of this disease in Europe has followed a trend such that annually gather more 400 000 children to the number of the 14 million who have excessive weight, of which 3 million are obese. The Mediterranean countries have the highest prevalence rates of obesity, especially Italy (37% of the population). Childhood obesity is reaching more and more children and young people. A European study, from Denmark, reveals that the Portuguese teenagers are among the most obese people in Europe, with the consequent cardiovascular disorders, respiratory, orthopedic and other. Alarming is also the appearance of children with diabetes type II, until recently exclusive syndrome of adults. College of Nutrition from the port, following a study on juvenile obesity in Europe (European project for Children "), has recommended the Government to withdraw from school canteens and bars the products which may contribute to the increase of obesity in children and young people, such as sugary sodas and without fruit, French fries and other fried foods and sugary snacks. Studies directed at public schools and private solidarity network conclude that you eat badly in cafeterias, but you eat even worse in buffets and bars of the same schools. The offer school food proved to be essentially repetitive, low in fruits and vegetables and high in sugary and salty foods. These data are of great importance because it shows that the food provided to children and adolescents in schools presents enormous nutritional deficiencies and Portuguese a significant excess in calories. In short, they are referred to a great number of factors that are at the base of the alarming increase of the numbers of obesity-the epidemic of the 21st century, as does the World Health Organization. According to the latest World Health Report 2002, the power is directly or indirectly related to high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and overweight, and consequently with insulin resistance, diabetes and various chronic disabling diseases, compromising the quality and life expectancy.
III – The garden vegetables in food fruits and vegetables are essential food in the Mediterranean diet, so praised by nutritionists. In addition to a very important role in the digestive process, the fruits and the vegetables have a proven and relevant role in the prevention of several cancer types throughout the digestive tract. From the nutritional point of view, are little calorie foods, rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Is derived from the polyphenols, compounds that have an extraordinary ability to function as antioxidants, or capturing free radicals of oxygen, that these foods protect the cells against oxidation and aging, and thus run counter to the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. The change of eating habits of the Portuguese families, with a progressive abandonment of the Mediterranean diet that we have witnessed in recent years, has caused a lower consumption of cereals, fruit and vegetables. Portugal, currently, a low consumption of fruit, especially in the younger age groups (according to data of the European project "for Children", only 23.2% of girls and 18.1% of boys with 15 years refer to consume vegetables daily). In fact, our country presents a decrease in consumption of garden vegetables. It is estimated that the consumption of these foods in Portugal if encrypt in 312 g/person/day (175 g/person/day of fruits and 147g/person/day of vegetables and soup being the main source of vegetable consumption), a value below the minimum daily intake recommended by the WHO/FAO-400 g/person/day. Eating healthy is the first step to prevent obesity , in particular childhood obesity which is currently the most common childhood disease in Europe. This is the premise that the Assembly of the Republic welcomes the Community initiative in the fight against childhood obesity, within a broader framework of preventive public health policies on overweight, obesity and chronic diseases. Children and adolescents overweight or obesity are those who engage in less physical activity and have less correct eating habits (several hours without eating, lack of fruit and vegetables, food low in fiber). A healthy diet strengthens the learning potential and the welfare of children and adolescents. In this context the 2010 national health plan provides for the adoption of a health program directed to overweight and obesity, in a multidisciplinary and intersectoral approach. Children and adolescents in need of special attention in the fight against obesity and the promotion of healthy living habits, because if it considers that it is in working with these age groups that can obtain higher gains in health that correlated with pathology. Due to the Global strategy for diet, physical activity and health adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2004 a partnership was held within the framework of the United Nations between the World Health Organization (who) and the United Nations food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), implemented in the "initiative for the promotion of fruit and Vegetables". This global initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of the benefits of adequate consumption of fruit, in particular in preventing "non-communicable chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, type II diabetes and obesity).
IV-the garden-fruit in Portuguese farming the fruit and vegetables is a very important component of national agriculture. The weight of the value of the horticultural production increased significantly in the five-year period 2001-05, corresponding to 13.6% of national agricultural production. Production of fruits showed a slight decrease in the same period, to move from 13.0% to 12.1%. National fruit production is dominated by PEAR, representing 42% of production in the sector, followed by Apple (29%) and citrus fruits (14%). The vegetables are dominated by the tomatoes for industry, followed by melon (21%), carrots (15%), cabbage (12%), peppers (10%) and fresh tomatoes (5%), according to the latest data from the National Institute of statistics-Agricultural Statistics 2007. The concentration of supply and the preparation for the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables, are held in fruit plants with significant dimension, in parallel with other smaller facilities. To your commercial distribution in fresh, refrigerated or processed, has been experiencing very significant changes, translated in the strengthening of the role of large distribution, in parallel with the changes in the patterns of consumption. At the same time there is the reduction of the market share of traditional retail establishments and specialized trade establishments. Fruit consumption has doubled in the past 20 years, but as the vegetables, has had big swings. A moderate increase to the mid 90, a sharp growth in the years 1995 to 1999, and a decrease from 2000. Price developments have been much sharper in the consumer that the producer, what constitutes, moreover, an important aspect with reflections in the consumption habits of the Portuguese. Currently, there is a greater stratification of purchasing power, with a demanding consumer segment available to purchase products of better quality or with any differentiation, alongside a quantitatively more representative segment where the price continues to be the main element in the buying decision. In the framework of the reform of the common market organisation (CMO) for fruit and vegetables, the Portuguese Government, last July presented to European Commission services the national strategy for this sector to that in order
complement to other instruments, notably the programme for Rural Development (2007-2013 PRODER), it is possible, at the end of your life, present a positive balance on innovation and professionalism and the induction of competitiveness gains in fruit and vegetables. The garden-fruit is a priority in Portugal and considered strategic in PRODER. Has a great potential for growth given the soil and weather conditions, and may reach a good level of competitiveness in international markets, and that a relevant importance in the agricultural sector and in the national economy. In addition to the increased investment that support program covers, the benefits still interesting aid agri-environmental measures of the CAP. With this aid, the producer adheres to Organic or Integrated production, pledging to use environmentally friendly farming practices, and the use of plant health care non-aggressive to ecosystems and toxic waste producers not in those foods. This accession to those farmers, and increasing environmental awareness by producers, allows you to create a final product garden-fruit of the highest quality and with greater safety for human consumption. On the other hand, taking into consideration that if finds in the film (pods) and on subpelicular pulp a good portion of vitamins and polyphenols present in fruit, makes perfect sense to choose the fruits resulting from organic or integrated production and promote the intake of fruit "off", practical and healthy method of consumption of these foods. The program proposed by the European Commission, free fruits and vegetables to school children of the first Cycle of basic education can contribute positively to the development of productions and local markets and thus promote the increase in the consumption of domestic products. The promotion of healthy eating habits at school is a key factor in achieving long-term sustainable results in the fight against obesity. In Portugal, the first Cycle of basic education encompasses a universe of 480,000 children.
V – education for healthy nutrition health education within the educational community-school and family, is a critical factor for the success of the fight against obesity, with a view to promoting balanced diet and healthy living habits. In fact, the National School Health Programme supports the 2010 national health plan, includes, inter alia, the promotion and protection of health and disease prevention within the educational community. The control of nutritional quality of the menus in schools or a ban on the sale in schools of foods and beverages high in fat, salt or sugar, as is proposed in the recently approved in the European Parliament report on the white paper on health issues related to nutrition, overweight and obesity are some of the important measures for achieving that objective. It should be noted that these measures are already a reality in schools in Belgium, Norway and England. Children and adolescents should constitute the priority of the policies of education for healthy eating. In this way, the free distribution of fruit and vegetables in schools seems like an important measure, especially in a broader context of pedagogical training on nutrition and health. The school can contribute decisively to the adoption of healthy behaviors, and is therefore in an ideal position to promote these awareness-raising actions and information with the educational community wants to the surrounding community. As emphasized in the National School health programme, "the School competes, too, educating for values, promote health, education and civic participation of students in the process of acquisition of skills to support lifelong learning and promote autonomy." In this particular aspect, the fulfilment of the principles guiding the "European network of Health promoting schools", which aim to ensure the school/family/environment interaction, in a partnership between the health and education sectors, of which the edition of "food education in middle school-a reference to an offer healthy food" by the Ministry of education, as a result of the institutional cooperation between the Directorate-General health and the Directorate-General for innovation and curriculum development is a good example. In Portugal, there are a few educational projects in this area that recent deserve our featured, such as the project "A hell" for School students of pre-school and first cycle basic education in the municipality of Óbidos (Óbidos city partnership and Granfer company-producers of fruit, CRL, which offers two pieces of fruit per week) and the "Healthy School" project , which is the result of a partnership between the Association of Apple Producers of Alcobaça (APMA) and the civilian Government of Leiria and runs until the end of this school year in 19 schools of this district. Under this initiative will be made available one refrigerator for the bar of schools with Apple products from Alcobaça and will be conducted lessons in civics, awareness-raising activities with health professionals and study visits to orchards and markets. This pedagogical projects, deserves special mention the important dynamic role that the Ministry of health, through the platform against obesity, can play both school both of the Portuguese population. This is a strategic measure taken politically on a national level, established in 2007 and to develop cross-sectoral synergies, the level of Government and civil society. The project HI (childhood obesity), the platform against obesity proposes a multi-faceted strategy where the epidemiological knowledge by conducting research that allow to know the prevalence of childhood obesity and the food and other behaviors of children, as well as prevention in the school environment assume maximum expression, with the aim of stabilizing the growth of the epidemic in the next 4-5 years and reverse the current trend of growth until 2015. For your time, authorities very dynamic, which gradually have come to assume important responsibilities in the area of education, particularly at the pre-school and primary education cycle 1, deserve particular emphasis. Local authorities currently generate more than 6000 schools and in this perspective are
indispensable partners in the implementation of preventive health programs aimed at schoolchildren.
In short, we believe it is essential to ensure a political commitment, primarily between the sectors of health, agriculture and education, promoting increased consumption of fruits and vegetables a part of the Portuguese population and in particular by the schoolchildren. There is an urgent need to find answers, multi-sectoral integrated and lasting in the fight against the epidemic of the 21st century – obesity. We must act as soon as possible with concrete actions and measures for the resolution of this serious public health problem.
In these terms, and therefore, the Assembly of the Republic, in accordance with point (b)) of article 156 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, decides to recommend to the Government: 1) adherence to the Community Program of free distribution of fruit and vegetables in schools, having in mind that. a. school population covered by this free distribution is the compulsory schooling. b. hortofrutículas to distribute products, have preferably national origin, and whether resulting from Biological production or Integrated production. 2) the preparation of a national programme for promoting Fruit consumption, according to the WHO/FAO guidelines, multi-sector oriented (agriculture, health and education), involving civil society, parents and carers, local authorities, public institutions and the private sector, and that is synergistic with existing national policies;
3) the operationalization of a multidisciplinary Observatory for the monitoring of the program of distributing fruit and vegetables in schools, of their national goals and objectives, as well as their impacts on the health of the school population, the fruit and vegetable sector, and food habits of the Portuguese, particularly of the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups. 4) withdrawal of food they sell and calorie. 5) continuation and strengthening of the Food education program in middle school, with an effective mobilization of the educational community in this important design-Educating for healthy lifestyles.
Palácio de s. Bento, November 6 2008 MEMBERS
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