Funds worth €90m (£72m) are to be made available by Brussels to set up an EU-wide School Fruit Scheme, in an attempt to tackle childhood obesity.
The EU Commission proposal, which still has to be approved by EU agriculture ministers, would pay for the purchase and distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables to schools, to encourage good eating habits in young people.
“Giving kids good habits at an early age is crucial as they will carry these into later life,” said agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel. “Too many of our children eat far too little fruit and vegetables and often don’t appreciate how delicious they are.”
The scheme, which was promised as part of last year’s reform of the fruit and vegetable regime, would be optional and would require 50% match funding by the member state.
An estimated 22 million children in the EU are overweight. More than 5 million of these are obese and this figure is expected to rise by 400,000 every year. Improved nutrition can play an important part in combating this problem.