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Sugary drinks to be banned at schools in Phnom Penh

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Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng on Friday announced plans to reduce the consumption of sweet beverages in the capital. Heng Chivoan

Sugary drinks to be banned at schools in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has announced plans to ban the sale of sugary drinks at schools in line with the Partnership for Healthy Cities across 70 of the world’s urban areas in efforts to tackle non-communicable diseases.

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng on Friday announced plans to reduce the consumption of sweet beverages in the capital, the Facebook page of the Phnom Penh municipal administration said.

“The Phnom Penh municipal administration will implement a reduction in the consumption of sugary drinks at schools as part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities.

“This is a world-famous network of 70 cities committed to saving people’s lives by preventing non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes,” it said.

More than 300 million people around the world are included in the Partnership for Healthy Cities, which receives financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, a partner of the World Health Organisation, and Vital Strategies.

Hem Sinareth, the director of Phnom Penh’s Municipal Department of Education, said he could not confirm the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall’s plans, but that the Ministry of Education had introduced plans to ban sugary food and drinks at educational institutions.

“I would like to inform you that the municipal and provincial departments of education have implemented the instructions of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on the sale of prohibited foods at educational institutions for months,” Sinareth said.

In May, the ministry announced that to improve health, educational institutions are prohibited from selling food that had expired, alcohol, tobacco products, energy drinks, sweet drinks, coffee, ice cream and syrup drinks, chocolate, candy and chewing gum, as well as doughnuts and sweets.

Sinareth said the Municipal Department of Education had conducted inspections at schools to check if food vendors were complying with the ministry’s instructions.

Phnom Penh municipal Department of Health director Ngy Mean Heng said the announcement strengthened the ministry’s instructions on the prohibition of certain foods at schools.

He said from the end of last year until early this year, the municipal departments of health and education and the municipal administration have held seven workshops and carried out a month-long campaign through tuk-tuk, radio and television adverts to raise awareness among the capital’s residents on the effects of sweet drinks, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.

Mean Heng said the workshops were attended by the directors of schools, councillors of the capital’s 105 communes, governors of its 12 districts and village chiefs.

He said in January and February next year, there will be further campaigns and workshops, with two teachers from 40 schools, pupils, parents and food vendors invited to raise awareness of the issue and to further strengthen the ministry’s instruction on ending the sale of sugary drinks at schools.

“We will carry out more campaigns together with workshops in January and February,” he said.

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