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Education Sector


Childhood years are when lifelong food and drink habits are established.   Schools and early childhood education (ECE) services have the opportunity to create a culture of healthy eating where children are supported to develop lifelong preferences that will help them grow into healthy adults.

Schools and ECE services are important role models for their communities and have an influence well beyond their students and their families.

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service supports ECE services and schools to promote water and milk as the preferred drinks for children. 

Schools urged to be water only by the end of 2016

In March 2016 the Ministries of Education and Health sent communications to schools to invite them to become water only.  They are keen to help all schools become free of sugary drinks by the end of the year and are supportive of plain reduced-fat milk as part of the water only policy. Read the Ministries invitation via the Education Gazette article.

Schools that have moved to being water only have seen that it benefits teaching and learning as well as student health and wellbeing.

Toi Te Ora's Drinks in Schools Report is available to view, which gathers a snapshot of the availability of sugary drinks in schools and kura in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Board areas.  The report findings have been summarised into an infographic (below) available to download.  This resource can be used to support schools to take steps to become sugary drink free.    



There are a range of resources available to support schools: 


What can schools or ECE services do? 

  • make your school or ECE service a sugary drink free environment

  • gain support of the Board of Trustees and become a water only school or ECE service

  • actively promote water and milk as the preferred drink options for children, e.g. in lesson plans, newsletters, meetings, assemblies

  • ensure healthy drink options are available and promoted on premises and events, e.g. vending machines, canteens, fundraising, catering

  • consider how to improve students’ access to free water throughout the day and at events, e.g. water coolers, water fountains

  • not allow sponsorship, advertising or marketing of sugary drinks on your premises, at events and in school sporting activities

  • review school canteen menus and remove any sugary soft drinks, fruit drinks or sports drinks and replace them with plain milk or water

  • consider getting support by becoming a Health Promoting School, participate in the Heart Foundation's Learn By Heart programme, or implement Building Blocks for Under 5s at your ECE service.

What others are doing

More information


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