Manitoba Health

Set text to smallest size Set text to normal size Set text to larger size Set text to largest size

Health Topics: Healthy Eating

Benefits of Healthy Eatingapple

  • Healthy eating helps children grow, develop, and do well in school.
  • Eating breakfast, at home or school, improves children’s memory, concentration levels, problem-solving abilities, and creative thinking.
  • A healthy diet helps children be more settled, attentive, and ready to learn.
  • Poor nutrition is associated with poorer learning in language arts, math, and general knowledge.
  • Healthy eating helps prevent child and adolescent health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and dental caries.

What can your FAMILY do to promote healthy eating?

  • Offer a variety of foods at meals by following Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.
  • Provide a healthy breakfast.  Save time by getting breakfast ready the night before.
  • Pack a healthy lunch.
  • Make time for meal-times.  Eat together as a family whenever possible.
  • Involve children in planning and cooking meals.

Parents can teach children to eat well through their own example

What can your SCHOOL do to promote healthy eating?

  • Form a school nutrition action group.
  • Teach good nutrition.
  • Develop school policies that support healthy eating.
  • Provide pleasant areas and sufficient time for eating.
  • Ensure there are nutritional choices available in cafeterias, canteens, and vending machines.
  • Don’t use junk food for classroom rewards.
  • Offer healthy alternatives for fund-raising.
  • Strengthen school food programs by learning what works best and why.

Click here for some examples of what Manitoba schools have done to promote healthy eating.

A Healthy School Approach to Food and Nutrition
  • Commitment to Nutrition and Physical Activity

  • Quality School Meals

  • Healthy Food Options

  • Pleasant Eating Environment

  • Nutrition Education

Healthy Eating Statistics

  • Good eating habits in childhood and youth have immediate and long-term benefits.

  • Children who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their overall daily nutritional requirements.

  • Only one-half of boys and two-thirds of girls report eating fruit five days a week or more.

  • Children eat less fruit and vegetables as they get older.

  • Soft drink consumption increases dramatically in boys between grades 6 and 10.

  • Older students, especially girls, tend to skip breakfast more often.

  • One in two grade 10 girls are on a diet or think they need to lose weight.

  • 50% of boys and girls report not drinking enough milk.

  • In the last twenty years, intake of soft drinks has more than doubled.

  • Food is the most advertised product to children on TV. There are almost no ads for fruit and vegetables, milk, or whole grain products.

  • Childhood obesity in Canada has tripled over the past 20 years. 33% of 7-13 year old males and 27% of females are overweight. 10% of 7-13 year old males and 9% of females are obese.

  • Obesity leads to poor health, lower quality of life, and lower life expectancy.


Alaimo, K. et al. (2001). Food insufficiency and American School-Aged Children’s Cognitive, Academic and Psychosocial Development. Pediatrics, 108: 44-53.

Birch, H.G. and J.D. Gussow (1970). Disadvantaged Children: Health, Nutrition, and School Failure. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.

Briefel, R. et al. (1999). Universal-Free School Breakfast Program Evaluation Design Project: Review of literature on Breakfast and Learning. Prepared for USDA Food and Nutrition Service by Mathematica Policy Research Inc., Princeton.

Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. (2002). Geneva.

Papamandjaris, A. (2000). Breakfast and Learning in Children: A Review of the Effects of Breakfast on Scholastic Performance. Breakfast for Learning, Canadian Living Foundation. N. York, Ontario.

Healthy Schools is a partnership of:
Health, Seniors and Active Living
Education and Training | Healthy Child Manitoba