More than eight million children learn the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables thanks to the School Fruit Scheme

According to the latest report put forward by the Commission, over 54,000 schools took part in the European School Fruit Scheme during the 2010-2011 academic year, distributing up to 43,000 tons of fruit among their students. This Scheme funded with €90 million is aimed at reducing the increase in childhood overweight and obesity in the European Union.

The amount of schools which taking part in the European School Fruit Scheme during the academic year 2010-2011 represented an increase of more than 70% over the previous year. This huge increase means that 8,146,290 children from 54,267 schools have benefited from this initiative launched in 2009.

The main objective of the European School Fruit Scheme focuses on reducing overweight rates among children in the European Union. It is estimated that about 22 million children in the Union are above their weight, a situation which leads to obesity for about 5.1 million of cases. Given the steady increase of these figures, the Council of Agriculture Ministers decided in 2009 to adopt Commission's proposal for a European Fruit Scheme to be developed in schools.

The report on the development of the Scheme also notes that, along with the overall increase in children and young people who have benefited from it and the increasing amount of fruit and vegetables distributed, there is also a greater variety of them. In addition to the free distribution of fruits, the plan also provided various educational activities such as visits to farms or awareness sessions for parents, which have greatly contributed to the success of the program.

In the proposed revision of the Common Agricultural Policy for 2020 the European Commission has proposed to strengthen the budget for this scheme and widen the eligible actions, so that a greater number of children can benefit from it. This plan is part of a series of initiatives launched by the Commission in order to improve food consumption habits among the younger population, as it is the case of the milk consumption campaign in schools launched by the Commission in 2008.