Parents support needed

Parents support is needed to ensure the banning of junk and unhealthy foods in schools around Samoa is effective and its aim of promoting a healthy society is achieved. 

Falevalu Primary School Parents and Teachers Association Secretary, Olive Vitale Sefo said parents of their school are still bringing junk foods for their children. 

"The only thing lacking here is the support of parents," she said. 

"They always bring unhealthy and junk food from outside the school, which is not helping the students to understand the essence of nutrition that we're trying to push.

"But so far the programme has been very helpful and we're so lucky and proud to have our children living in a safe and healthy environment.”

Olive said their school accepted the initiative because they wanted what's best for their children. 

"The parents are mainly the ones that are still bringing in the junk food to feed their children," she reiterated. 

Magiagi Primary School canteen vendor, Nyssa Tafito said parents bringing junk foods is major concern for them as they wish for this strategy to have a positive impact on the children's lives.  

"We understand that the parents are used to getting their children what they want and provide them with whatever food they want but they have to understand that the canteen vendors are taking a huge step here for their children," she said. 

"I have to admit we are not earning that much as much used to before with all the junk food and other food we used to sell but with the discussions by the Health Ministry and our concern for the children, we supported the idea fully.

"So our advice to the parents is to have a bit of consideration of what we put on the line for the sake of their children. Work together for the safety of our children," she said.

Canteen vendors of Leififi College, Mimisa Tuiatua and Vaimauga College, Toga Afamasino also expressed their concerns over the health state of the children.

"We hear a lot of criticisms from our families saying it's unfair because we're not the only ones selling junk food but we believe we can make a change by working together starting from these small things like banning junk and unhealthy food from the schools," Mrs. Tuiatua said.

Mr. Afamasino said it will take some time to adjust but it's on the parents to have the will to provide a safe and healthy environment for their children, that's where a change begins.

Vice principal for Magiagi Primary School, Leone Mata'u Pomare, who has been teaching for more than 60 years, said this is an initiative that should've been made a long time ago.

"I always pity the children I teach every year because we also have grades for their state of health and I'm afraid their state of health from my own experience as a teacher is quite poor.

"So parents, work together to provide our children with the best  because we might love it today and cry tomorrow if something happens to them in the future."

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