The banned items include cookies, chocolates, chips, chewing gum, power drinks, canned foods, fruit juices, carbonated drinks and meat dishes, including liver. The ban order also covers various kinds of pastries.
School canteens are not supposed to sell junk food and supply only balanced food to students.
A dietitian in Jeddah, Fatimah Bukhari, stressed the significance of educating children on nutrition and eating balanced meals and learning healthy food habits. They should also be able to distinguish between good and harmful foods, she said.
The traditional Arab diet is healthy, especially when coupled with the more active outdoors lifestyles of the past. But the modern advent of consuming processed foods and foods heavy with sugars, oils and fats — coupled with a far less active lifestyle — has created a health crisis.
Diet-related diseases like diabetes is rapidly approaching endemic levels in Saudi Arabia and other countries.
She recommended that the Education Ministry should resume the free supply of balanced meals to students particularly at the primary and intermediate schools.
By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN