This year, we are taking part in the Food Dudes Programme as part of our Health Promotion School Initiative. Food Dudes is a programme developed by the University of Wales, Bangor, to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables both in school and at home. It is based on positive role models (the Food Dudes characters), repeated tasting and rewards.
In large-scale studies in schools in England and Wales and pilot studies in schools in Ireland, the Programme has been shown to be effective and results long lasting across the primary age range, regardless of gender, school size, geographic and socio-economic factors. It is ultimately designed to enable children to enjoy eating healthy diets, and to create a healthy eating culture within schools.
The programme in Ireland received a “counteracting obesity” award from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2006.
The programme is managed by Bord Bia and to date over 3,100 primary schools have participated in the National Roll Out which will be completed in 2014. Funding has been made available by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the EU School Fruit Scheme for schools that previously ran Food Dudes to implement it for current students at junior level including specified tasting days for senior classes.