Hong Kong launches promotion for healthy meals at schools

Updated: 2017-09-18 17:36


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HONG KONG - The government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) has launched a series of promotion for healthy meals at schools, including an online voting for a low-salt and low-sugar poster design competition that started on Monday.

"Members of the public are invited to vote online for the Most Liked Award among the poster design merit entries of the Smart Choices for Low-Salt and Low-Sugar Slogan Writing cum Poster Design Competition," the Hong Kong SAR government said in a news release.

A total of 357 students from 75 schools took part in the four categories of the poster design competition, it said, adding that participants were required to express the ideas of reducing dietary intake of salt and sugar or doing so through the good use of nutrition labels.

The Department of Health of the SAR government has also launched the Salt Reduction Scheme for School Lunches in 440 primary schools since the fall semester starting this month.

Under the scheme, 13 food suppliers will offer 280 reduced-salt lunch options to the involved primary schools, with an average sodium reduction of 9 percent.

Anne Fung, assistant director of the Department of Health, said she hopes the scheme will gradually lower the sodium level of school lunches by up to 10 percent each year, with a 10-year target of the average sodium level in primary school lunchboxes being less than 500 milligrams.

Excessive intake of sodium can cause hypertension, a major cause of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, Fung said, adding that "the rate of referral of primary and secondary students with suspected hypertension for further management increased from 0.4 percent in 2011-2012 to 0.8 percent in 2015-2016."

"Such statistics show it is important to support our children to develop healthy eating habits to prevent the development of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension," she said.