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It's not looking good for cola

Children should be banned from buying sweets, crisps or fizzy drinks from any school in Wales, according to revolutionary new proposals. School staff should also "influence" what parents put in their child's lunchbox in a bid to tackle soaring obesity levels and boost concentration spans.

Long-awaited recommendations of a working group, set up to investigate food consumption in schools, were divulged yesterday. But plans for more stringent food rules were branded too invasive by some - even before they had seen the report.

In all, 41 far-reaching proposals aimed at overhauling school food were announced. If they go ahead, schools, local authorities and caterers will have to start phasing in new rules by September 2008.

But speaking before seeing the report, Geraint Davies, Welsh secretary for teachers' union the NASUWT, said: "We applaud any advice to help children eat healthily, but anything beyond that is more of the nanny state."

Under the proposals, primary pupils would only be allowed to eat fruit as a snack at lunchtimes. Children would only be able to drink water, milk, and drinks not high in calories, E numbers or artificial sweeteners.

It is also proposed that more schools sign up for the free breakfast scheme. But Neil Foden, head of Ysgol Friars in Bangor, said there was a limit to how much schools could do to influence diet.

Speaking before seeing the report, he said: "Schools are not here to make sure children eat five portions of food and vegetables every day."

The Assembly government was pressured to review school meals after it was accused of lagging behind England and Scotland. In England, Jamie Oliver's Feed Me Better campaign forced Tony Blair to make policy changes.

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