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School Principals Meet NDC at IPPN Conference

Louise Tobin, Principal, St. Joseph's Primary School, Murgasty Road, Tipperary Town (right) is pictured with Tara Regan, School Programme Manager with the National Dairy Counil, at the Irish Primary School Principals (IPPN) Conference. The annual conference ran from 27th-29th January 2011 in Citywest Conference Centre, Dublin.

The National Dairy Council exhibited at this year's event with School Programme Manager Tara Regan available to help with questions on how schools can sign up and get involved in the school milk programme. The NDC is encouraging more parents and teachers to engage with the school milk and dairy programme as a way of helping children to achieve their recommended dietary guideline consumption of dairy.

Nutritional Inadequacies in Irish Children

Dairy products provide an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet – and are particularly important for growing children and teenagers. Yet a considerable proportion of Irish children aged 5-12 years and Irish teenagers are known to have inadequate intake of certain nutrients including calcium, vitamins A & D. (Refs 1, 2, 3 & 4). 42% of teenage girls and nearly one fifth (23%) of teenage boys have inadequate calcium intakes. (Ref 3)

Participating in the EU-subsidised School Milk Programme is a cost effective and easy way for parents to help children to combat this nutritional gap, as milk is a natural source of calcium and other essential nutrients, namely vitamins B12 and B2 and iodine and protein.

Children & Teenagers Need Encouragement at Home & School

A survey reported by The Obesity Taskforce [n1] found that 37% of Irish children (ages 10-17) consume fizzy drinks at least once daily. (Ref 5). This is particularly important with research now demonstrating that food and beverage consumption patterns begin to develop early in childhood and can persist over time to influence patterns of intake later in life.

“Children and teenagers need all the encouragement they can get to switch to healthy snacking habits," says Tara Regan, who refers to Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and the food pyramid's daily recommendations. The RDA for calcium for children (1-10 yrs) and adults (18-65+ yrs) is 800mg/d; with teenagers (11-17 yrs) and women who are pregnant (second half of pregnancy) or breastfeeding (first six months) needing a higher level of 1200 mg/d (ref 11).
To convert that into practical terms the Department of Health’s Food Pyramid recommends “3 portions of dairy per day”. (Refs 12) In order to meet the increased requirements associated with the teenage years, pregnancy and breastfeeding, people during these life-stages should aim for 5 servings of dairy per day.

One ‘portion’ of dairy is equivalent to 189 ml milk (one carton of School Milk approx.), a carton of yogurt or 1oz of hard cheese.

School Milk Programme Expands to Secondary Schools

The School Milk & Dairy Programme has, up until now, been offered mainly to primary school pupils in the Republic of Ireland. (www.thefreshmilkclub.ie).

For the first time this year, the National Dairy Council is actively inviting all 750 secondary schools to engage with the School Milk & Dairy programme, with information for secondary schools despatched in early September and available at www.schoolmilk.ie.

To support the expansion of the programme into secondary schools, the NDC has also just launched a new national competition inviting secondary school students in the Republic of Ireland to experience the creativity, challenges and thrills of working in an advertising agency. The National Dairy Council’s Milk It Advertising Awards gives students the chance to work in teams, setting up their own ‘advertising agency’ of up to six students.

For further information on the NDC return to our Home Page or telephone 01-290 2451

References and sources of information

 

Media enquiries to:

Antonina Ni Dhuinn, Progress Communications - 01-2766117 - nina@progresspr.ie - www.progresspr.ie

 

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