(ECNS) -- Beijing will promote healthy meals at the city's primary and middle schools to improve student diets and help control childhood obesity, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning said.
The health commission urged schools to develop healthy canteens to control the use of edible oil and salt in meals and keep records of the amount used and finally meet the standard daily maximum of 6 kilograms for salt and 25 kilograms for oil as recommended by World Health Organization.
Boarding schools cannot sell unhealthy food or drinks such as carbonated beverages.
Beijing launched the pilot healthy canteen scheme in some schools two years ago and plans to expand the project this year.
The commission has also been working on amendments to health guides that contain more specific exercises and sports instructions for school children. Work is expected to complete this year, the commission said, adding that a revised version of the guidelines will be published in 2017.
One in five primary and middle-school students are now obese, the health and family planning commission said. Among the overweight and obese, 30 percent have health problems, including abnormal blood lipids and glucose.
"Chronic diseases tend to impact young people. This is very harmful for their health," said Du Hong, an official with the city's health and family planning commission.
The sale of high-fat, high-salt and high-sugar food such as hamburgers and instant noodles will be controlled in canteens, which are encouraged to improve food quality and sell low-fat and low-salt meals.
"School canteens can also make some innovations when it comes to food," said Du. "For example, schools can cook hamburgers with more vegetables."