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Visiting nutritionist learns about school meals 26 September 2011

THE leader of a visiting group of Rotary-sponsored young professionals from New York State has been learning about the nutritional standards of meals served in the Island’s primary schools.

Liz Metzger, who has a background in nutrition, met Chris Wilson, Schools’ Catering Manager with the Department of Education and Children, today (Monday). Royary visit

They spoke about the challenges involved in providing a healthy but varied and appealing midday meal to 3,000 primary pupils each day. Mr Wilson told her that the number of children participating in a school meal had risen steadily over a number of years, with more than half the primary school population now sitting down to enjoy one.

Mr Wilson said afterwards:

‘It was a great pleasure meeting Liz and exchanging ideas about two quite different meal services. Although the health problems associated with poor diets are common across both sides of the Atlantic, it was encouraging to hear to how similar the approaches to redressing the issues are.’

Mrs Metzger is the leader of the team, which is sponsored by Rotary International under the Group Study Exchange Scheme (GSE). The group of four are all from medical or public health professions.

GSE offers cultural and vocational link-ups to business people. The group is based in the North West of England for four weeks and is visiting the Isle of Man until Thursday (29th September).

Rob Clynes, who is part of the team organising the visit on behalf of the five Rotary clubs in the Island, explained more about GSE.

‘The programme provides travel grants for teams to exchange visits in paired countries,’ he said. ‘For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country's culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.
‘As the team leader, Liz is further on in her career than the others, but her professional interests overlap with healthcare and education, so meeting Chris was part of the bigger picture that we are showing to the group. Liz hopes to learn about the healthcare system in the UK and Isle of Man and share it with the professional teams she works with in New York.’

As well as vocational visits, exchange participants visit Rotary clubs, enjoy social events and sightseeing and spend time with host families, Rob said.

‘Although visitors come to us as part of a regional programme (the five Island clubs belong to the northern England Rotary district), the Group Study Exchange programme is something the Rotary clubs on the Island excel at doing,’ Rob went on.
‘We have hosted some very special incoming groups in recent years as well as providing three of the five outgoing members on the recent trip to New York State. ‘We usually find that the Isle of Man is their favourite part of the visit.’

Although she now heads a library, Mrs Metzger graduated in nutrition and has worked as a nutritional educator for a women, infants and children’s programme in Cortland, New York, and as county nutrition educator. She is on the board of her local hospital.

She said:

‘Over the years, my family and I have hosted three Rotary exchange students and were enriched by the experience. Since I missed out on this as a youth, being the Group Study Exchange team leader is giving me an opportunity to learn more about life and culture in England and the Isle of Man, where I will hopefully have a chance to visit libraries, learn about the healthcare system and make many new friends.’

Chris Wilson, Schools’ Catering Manager with the DEC, welcomes Liz Metzger to the Department today

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