Cerdon College students were given food for thought this week as they embarked on the Gutsy Challenge.
It is the second year that students in year 7 at the Merrylands school have taken part in the national initiative, which promotes healthy eating while raising funds to help find a cure for gastrointestinal cancers.
Vanessa Madeline, 12, said participants were sponsored to eat two serves of fruit and four serves of vegetables each day for one week.
"It's definitely a good idea to encourage healthy eating because it's becoming a bit of a problem nowadays," she said.
"I get some [fresh fruit] from my grandparents' house — lemons and tomatoes. They have a vegetable garden."
Monique Khattar, 12, said her home room also held a food stall and raised more than $400 to support the challenge by selling blueberry muffins, fruit skewers and other fruit-based treats.
"It's a good challenge for schools," she said.
"Everybody should take part."
For Cerdon College students, the challenge ends on September 1.
The Gutsy Challenge can be taken any time until the end of November.
■ 26 Australians die each day from gastro-intestinal cancer — in the bowel, pancreas, oesophagus, stomach, liver and gall bladder.
■100,000 or more pieces of fruit were consumed nationally during the 2012 Gutsy Challenge.
■ 23,000 or more Australians are diagnosed with gastro-intestinal cancer each year