The UK government has pledged to extend its child health initiative, with the provision of free fruit for an extra 200,000 school children aged between four and six on a daily basis.

The National School Fruit Scheme has been trialled in 500 schools across the country, and 99% of teachers reported that they considered the provision of fruit to be a good way to improve health. Furthermore, 20% of teachers reported that it also had a positive effect on children’s’ attention levels in the classroom.

The extension of the scheme will be funded by £42m (US$59.5m) from the National Lottery, and the government hopes that by 2004 two million children will have benefited from the initiative.