Schools operated by the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) will soon ban the sale of some processed food – mainly those with high sugary content, high salt content and greasy food - to their students.

ACOM has about 31 schools operating in the country ranging from ECE, primary, secondary and Rural Training Centres (RTC).

The SIBC reports that the ACOM education authority (EA) is working on a policy to ban all market vendors and parents from selling sugary drinks and junk food to students. The policy will be brought before the ACOM education board to be approved on June the 21st. This may include easy-to-make meals like noodles, along with soft drinks and other assorted goods.

The ACOM EA says that while market vendors and parents use the area to make money for their daily livelihood, the health of the students is also paramount. ACOM EA says that the new policy will seek to encourage market vendors and parents to sell local foods, fruits and vegetables to the students as they are nutritious and healthy.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, are the leading cause of premature deaths in the Pacific. Though small, the initiative taken by the ACOM should serve as an example for other schools in the country. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with health ministries around the world in strengthening policies and health systems to reduce the burden of NCDs.