Crunch&Sip is a primary school nutrition program, developed to increase the quantities of vegetables and fruits and water being consumed by Western Australian children. It is an easy way to help kids stay healthy and happy!
Crunch&Sip is a set time during the school day for students to eat vegetables and fruit and drink water in the classroom. Students bring vegetables and/or fruit and a clear water bottle to school each day for the Crunch&Sip break.
Giving students the chance to re-fuel with fruit or vegetables helps to improve physical and mental performance and concentration in the classroom, as well as promoting long term health.
Crunch&Sip is a well-established program in Western Australia, with over 46% of eligible schools across the state currently certified.
The objectives of Crunch&Sip are to:
- increase awareness of the importance of eating vegetables and fruit and drinking water
- give students, teachers and staff an opportunity to eat vegetables and fruit during an allocated Crunch&Sip break in the classroom
- encourage students, teachers and staff to drink water throughout the day in the classroom, during break times and at sports, excursions and camps
- encourage parents to provide students with fruit or vegetables every day
- develop strategies to help students who don't have regular access to fruit and vegetables
Why should students eat vegetables and fruit in class?
Western Australian kids aren't eating enough vegetables and whole fruit. Recent government research has revealed that for primary school children in WA:
- Five out of six do not eat enough vegetables
- One out of nine does not eat enough fruit
Crunch&Sip helps children to develop regular healthy eating habits. Eating a healthy diet in childhood reduces the risk of becoming overweight or obese. The proportion of children carrying excess weight has more than doubled in the last 30 years, with one in four Western Australian children now overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, later in life.
Why should students drink water in class?
Water lost each day through breathing, sweating and going to the toilet needs to be replaced. Not drinking enough fluid results in dehydration which can lead to the reduced ability to concentrate, headaches and irritability. By the time a person is thirsty they are already becoming dehydrated.
Children rarely drink enough during break times at school and often forget to drink unless reminded. Some teachers comment that they always let students leave the class to have a drink from a fountain if they ask permission. But children may not think to ask, and other students can use 'going for a drink' as an opportunity to 'go for a wander'.
Students who are regularly reminded to drink water and who are able to bring a water bottle into the classroom drink more and are less likely to become dehydrated.
Crunch&Sip was adapted from the Great Southern Public Health Service and the Albany and Narrogin District Education Offices Fruit & Water Policy in Schools Project. Healthway funded the pilot project in 6 primary schools located in the Great Southern region in 2000. In 2002, the Western Australian Minister for Health acknowledged the success of the project with the presentation of the Healthway 'Excellence in Health Promotion Award' to the Nutrition Program at the Great Southern Public Health Service.
The Crunch&Sip program was launched to all Western Australian primary schools in 2005 with funding provided by the Department of Health as part of the Go for 2&5 campaign. From 2006, the program has been coordinated by Cancer Council WA. From late 2011 until June 2015, funding was provided under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.
Healthway is currently funding the Crunch&Sip program. As part of the new funding arrangement, Crunch&Sip is evolving to have a stronger focus on the promotion of vegetables. While students will still be able to bring in fruit, vegetables will be promoted as the snack of choice for Crunch&Sip breaks.
Crunch&Sip is implemented in New South Wales by the Healthy Kids Association.