Eleven Northland schools will get a healthy start to the new term this week by taking part in the 5+ A Day School Challenge.

The annual challenge promotes healthy eating by encouraging pupils to eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

To participate, schools must hold a 5+ A Day themed event or combine the 5+ A Day message with an existing event during February.

Events might included picnics, sports days, cooking classes and visits to local market gardens. Schools have the chance to win a $5000 Bosch kitchen appliance package, prize packs and fresh fruit and vegetables.


Northland schools taking part include Matauri Bay School, Kaikohe West School, Awanui School, Totara North School, Kaitaia Abundant Life School, Tikipunga High School, Mangamuka School, Matakohe School, Onerahi School, Kaurihohore School and Raurimu Avenue School.

5+ A Day general manager Paula Dudley said the challenge was always popular and a fun way to teach pupils the benefits of making healthy food choices.

"The effort schools go to is very impressive," she said.

The latest New Zealand Health Survey found 11 per cent of children are obese, and a further 22 per cent are overweight. Childhood obesity is associated with serious health complications and increased risk of premature onset of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.

The winning 5+ A Day school will be announced in April.