Kiwi kids are set to become some of the healthiest in the world, thanks to health initiatives being implemented in New Zealand schools.
Children are taking an active role in their own health through programmes that encourage healthier food choices and teach kids about their nutritional needs.
One such initiative is teaching kids to grow their own fruit and vegetables in school farms and how to cook using the fresh produce in school kitchens.
While some adults may not know their parsley from their petunias, Titahi Bay School principal Kerry Delaney says kids are taking the lead in the garden and making delicious food, such as soup.
Ms Delaney says a focus on nutrition is not only playing a pivotal role in children’s well-being but is also improving students’ concentration and behaviour in the classroom.
“When the kids come inside after an hour of running around and have their fruit and their milk, it’s really improved their concentration,” she says.
Children can help themselves to up to three pieces of fruit a day, as part of the Government’s Fruit in Schools programme, which is due to expand this year.
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says New Zealand has a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.
"Healthy eating helps fuel the body and the brain, that's why the Fruit in Schools programme is so beneficial to students," Dr Coleman says.
Titahi Bay School’s push for a healthy education stemmed from a fundamental belief of Ms Delaney’s that parents and the community have fully supported.
“A survey about four years ago showed that parents are really mindful about what they want for their children: no sugary drinks.”
Aside from the Government’s contribution, Titahi Bay School does its own fundraising and even sell compost by-products from their worm farm.
“We have beautiful parents willing to help and an awesome community.”
And what do the kids think?
“They love it! Kids love fruit, they love milk, they love planting and picking produce. They know what’s good for their body.”
Titahi Bay school's annual fundraising triathlon is on this Saturday. They are raising money for equipment to fill their new cooking room.