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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Free fruit and veg scheme success
A free fruit and veg scheme in schools has a 96% take-up
More than 96% of the youngest school children in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Peterborough are eating free fruit and vegetables every day.

More than 80,000 helpings of apple, banana, pear, strawberries - in season - carrot or tomato are being distributed to their schools every day.

Organisers of a campaign to promote healthy eating and tackle obesity are delighted with the response so far.

Some parents are also reporting they are changing eating habits at home.

Fruit and vegetables are being tried out by young children in schools across the region as part of a 77m campaign financed by the government.

Some teachers have reported that children were more receptive to learning after eating the fruit and vegetables
Martin Seymour
The National Lottery new opportunities fund has contributed another 42m to keep the campaign going.

Coordinator Martin Seymour said: "The scheme is being rolled out across the country and we are one of the first regions to benefit.

"After making numerous presentations to highlight the benefits of healthy eating in the fight against cancer, heart disease and other conditions we were expecting a take-up of 70%.

"We are delighted with the response so far, although some schools have not signed up.

"This is because some had their own healthy eating programmes or some teachers were concerned the extra work would affect an already busy curriculum commitment.

"In fact, some teachers have reported that children were more receptive to learning after eating the fruit and vegetables."

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