Open Letter

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An open letter to schools and teachers

Learn more about the School Mealtimes movement, and find out what else you can do to create safe and empowering school food environments. 

Open letter header wide

Dear Educators,

Thank you for your commitment to supporting the growth and development of our children. We appreciate that schools are dedicated to promoting good health and we understand the complexities and challenges of working in this space. 

We are writing to raise our concerns about some emerging trends in how schools approach food and eating behaviours. These include:

  • School policies that prohibit certain foods for ‘health’ reasons
  • Recommendations that parents only supply ‘healthy’ foods and nothing else
  • Teachers and other members of staff policing lunchboxes and dictating eating behaviours. This includes:

a) Preventing children from eating supplied foods when the food is regarded as ‘unhealthy’
b) Only allowing certain foods to be eaten at certain breaks (eg only fruit and veg at recess)
c) Conducting lunchbox audits or other food checklists
d) Insisting that children eat particular amounts of food from their lunchbox
e) Determining the order of consumption of foods (eg sandwiches must be eaten before yoghurt)

Although these activities are well-intended, they have significant long-term consequences. Practises such as these foster a fear of food and increase the rates of fussy, restrictive and other disordered eating behaviours in children (1-4). They increase the stress and anxiety of parents around the provision of food (5,6), and unintentionally disrupt household eating patterns (7). Additionally, they disproportionately affect children with disabilities, those with feeding or sensory challenges, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse populations (8). 

Thank you for considering this proposal. We appreciate your desire to do the best for your students.

 

Dr Kyla Smith, APD, AN
Paediatric Dietitian

Supported by:

Dr Andrew Leech FRACGP, Dip. Child Health, MBBS

Kids GP

Dr Bianca Petterson Sc (Nutr), DPsych

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Vanja Rozenblat MAPS

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Nelu Jayawardena MBBS, BMedSci

Paediatric Fellow

Dr Gemma Coleman APD, AN

Paediatric Dietitian

Catrina Smith SW

Eating Disorder Counsellor

Co-signed by:

Maddison Pike

Registered Psychologist

Caylah Batt

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Gina Journet

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Sabine McKenzie

Eating Disorder Recovery Coach

Dr Laura O’Connor

General Practitioner

Dr Claire de Burgh

General Practitioner

Penny Blunden

Paediatric Registered Nurse

Jessica Dreaver

Occupational Therapist

Dr Amy Doyle

General Practitioner

Dr Claire Bowden

General Practitioner

Dr Vanessa Che

General Practitioner

Olivia Bates

Dietitian

Alison Cassidy

Eating Disorder RPN

Amanda Webb

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Nicole Stucki

Clin Psych, Behaviour Support Practitioner

Dr Sarah Ledger

General Practitioner

Meg Howgate

Dietitian

Tamara Bushell

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Clinician

Kristy Townsend

Speech Pathologist

Dr Megan Berry

Medical Doctor

Dr Amelia Harray

Dietitian & Paediatric Nutrition Researcher

Dr Katherine Hanks

General Practitioner

Jo Crutchett

Dietitian

Dr Natalie Johnston

General Practitioner

Bec Newton

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Rebecca Willis

Pharmacist

Jessica Ruescher

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Jodie Mechielsen

Psychologist and Exercise Physiologist

Hannah Knowlman

Social Worker

Gabrielle Malone

Occupational Therapist

Sarah Efklides

Paediatric Dietitian

Dr Rebecca Byrne

Accredited Practising Dietitian & Senior Lecturer

Amy Lee

Medical Doctor

Megan Parker

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Anne Finch

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Dr Claire Mohr

General Practitioner

Emma Falconer

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Erikka Hennessy

Mental Health Dietitian

Jeanette Blandford

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Rebekah Saw

Occupational Therapist

Tamar Cohen

Registered Psychologist

Dr Jan-Marie Fonseca

General Practitioner

Amy Gordon

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Alison Grattan-Smith

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Dr Georgia Peters

General Practitioner

Shelley Judge

Public Health Nutritionist

Dr Melissa Lau

General Practitioner

Dr Lucy Cowper

GP Registrar

Natalie De Pasquale

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Dr Arthee Yogendran

General Practitioner

Sade Fortuin

Occupational Therapist

Kate Peters

General Practitioner

Narelle Simm

Health Promotion Officer

Sarah Eaves

Business Operations

Tish Drakopoulos

Speech Pathologist

Dr Suzanne King

GP

Grace

Paediatric dietitian

Anneke Engwerda

Paediatrician

Jowene Crutchett

Dietitian

Belinda Martin

Paediatric Dietitian

Deanna Cook

APD

Faye Levine

Dietitian

Sarah Gulliver

Paediatric Dietitian

Kerri-anne Telford

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Natasha Wilton

Paediatric Dietitian

Alison Climie-Holmes

Paediatric Dietitian

Emma Briggs

Registered Nurse

Bonnie Dorise

Paediatric Dietitian

Sarah Ralston

Nutritionist

Jillian Chin

Dietitian

Claire silic

Clinical dietitian

Ashleigh Mitchell

Paediatric dietitian

Alexandra Burke

Dietitian

Bethany Rudge

Speech Pathologist

Nicola Perry

Dietitian

Claire Hyland

Nutritionist

Kirrily Tutt

Dietitian

Nerida

Dietitian

Courtney Moore

Dietitian

Jordyn

Child Health Nurse

Hannah Batten

Dietitian (APD)

Jess Cronk

Clinical psychologist

Rachael Mowatt

Teacher

Lindsay Briscoe

Occupational Therapist

Erin Place

Child Care Manager

Sally wallace

Registered Nurse

Shannae Colan

OT

Lauren Lloyd

Medical doctor

Alyssa Godfrey

Clinical nurse

Kristen Clarke

Physiotherapist

Jasmine Martin

Education Assistant

Emily Wayne

Senior Clinical Dietitian

Sophie Shenton

Occupational Therapist

Emily Hatwell

GP

Kate Travis

Speech Pathologist

Jordan Henderson

Dietitian

Courtney Rees

Registered Nurse

Elizabeth Wallace

Admin assistant

Neridah Lloyd

Physiotherapist

Kelly Van Rooyen

Early childhood educator

Holly Le Juge de Segrais

Physiotherapist

Emma McCabe

RN

Brie Exley

Registered Nurse

Kelsey Underhill-Pomeroy

Physiotherapist

Caitlyn van Parreren

Speech Pathologist

Katie Goodenough

Dietitian

Amber Mitchell

Teacher & mum

Janine Wright

Dietitian

Katie Wilkie

Teacher

Kiera

Occupational Therapist

Erin Dwyer

Dietitian

Briannan Knight

Nutritionist

Kira Watson

Physiotherapist

Sian lizza

Education support

Alice Parker

Paediatrician

Dr Amy Doyle

General practitioner

Simone Howells

Speech Pathologist

Hannah Slattery

Dietitian

Hannah Pack

Pharmacist

Ellen Watson

Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Dr Emalie Rosewarne

Dietitian

Megan Eckert

Registered Nurse

Amanda Webb

Dietitian

Laura O’Connor

GP

Karis Glavinas

Dietitian

Amy Gerick

Social worker

Emma Falconer

APD AN

Julia Boase

Paediatric Dietitian

Zoe Sanders

Retail Catering Manager

Stacey Cole

Occupational Therapist

Arielle Naughton

Paediatric Dietitian

Hibba Nagrial

Speech Pathologist

Irene Serfaty

Clinical Psychologist

Jemma Sanders

Occupational Therapist

Sarah Forbes

Dietitian

Caitlin Reddyhough

Clinical Psychologist

Katie Joubert

Nutritionist

Emma Vidot

Teacher

Kathryn Owers

Pharmacist

Pip White

Physiotherapist

Stacey Charman

Teacher

Jessica Wright

Registered Nurse

Jess Rennie

Occupational Therapist

Amelia Richards

Dietitian

Hayley Johnson

Teacher

Elizabeth Cullen

Dietitian

Kaitlyn Keens

Social Worker

Nikki

Teacher – Primary

Jane Warneke

Nurse

Megan Powell

Health Promotion Officer

Jessica Donaldson

Clinical Nurse Educator / Registered Nurse

Melissa Oliveri

Medical practitioner

Dr Emma Ramsey

General Practitioner

Rebecca Russell

Nutritionist, Lecturer

Emma Briggs

Registered Nurse

Ashley Ransley

Eating Disorder Therapist (LMSW)

Gina Stear

Dietitian

Emily Eaton

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Rebecca Van Oord

Nurse

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Learn more about the School Mealtimes movement, and find out what else you can do to create safe and empowering school food environments. 

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