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This document provides advice for school governors, head teachers and contract caterers on the statutory nutritional standards required for school lunches. These are laid down in the Education (Nutritional Standards for School Lunches)(Wales) Regulations 2001.

A bad diet is as damaging to school performance in the short term as it is to health in the long term. The National Assembly for Wales is determined to help secure, maintain and improve the health of young people. The introduction of minimum nutritional standards for school meals is one of the steps being taken to achieve this. A number of other initiatives such as the "Welsh Network of Healthy Schools Schemes" have been launched. Details of such schemes are shown at chapter 9 of this document.

A varied and balanced diet is an important way of protecting health, and promoting proper growth and development. In the short term it can help children and young people to improve their concentration and fulfil their potential both inside and outside school. It helps to minimise some health risks such as anaemia and dental decay. A good diet in childhood can also help to prevent ill health later in life. Diets which include too much fat and salt, and not enough vegetables and fruit, are linked to heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Research confirms however that the diets of many young people are inadequate containing too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit and vegetables. The document below contains a number of key recommendations and actions for work in schools on food and nutrition.