Should healthy eating be on the school curriculum?

Posted on 23 May 2011 in Avoid Processed | 5 comments

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Kids in Britain are eating badly. And no it’s not just some kids, it’s most kids.

Just look at the stats from The National Diet and Nutrition Survey. It surveyed 2,672 young people 4-18 and found that; 96% of children do not get enough fruit and vegetables, 92% consume more saturated fat than is recommended, 86% consume too much sugar and 72% consume too much salt.

Healthy eating is something we need to learn in order to thrive. But if children don’t learn properly that what you eat has a direct and immediate impact on you physically and mentally, then they can’t make informed choices about food when they get older.

There are some great groups working hard to get healthy eating into schools, including the Food for Life Partnership, with some positive results, as this latest research shows.

What do you think? Should healthy eating be taught in schools?



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  1. Rachel Neale / May 24th, 2011 13:19

    YES! I have a 3 year old daughter and have taught her all I can about eating and cooking healthy food. She is one of the only 3 year old’s I know who will always get the veg off her plate first before anything else and forever ask for fruit for snacks. Don’t get me wrong, we do eat chips, burgers and chicken nuggets on occasions – but we just make our own healthier versions, of which she knows no difference! We grow (well atempt too!) our own veg where possible and do lots of cooking together. But not every parent has the chance, patience or knowledge (or receptive child!) to be able to do this. So kids have to get the knowledge from somewhere. If not at home, where do they spend most of their time – at school. Its 100% a must!!


    • Ruth / May 24th, 2011 13:30

      Thanks for your comments Rachel. Nutritionists say when kids eat better they think better, they behave better and they learn better… so it seems to make sense to teach them at school!


  2. Aimee / June 16th, 2011 21:21

    No! I have 3 daughters – twins in Year 1 and my youngest is in reception.
    At their school healthy eating is shoved in your face from the second you walk through the door. Posters everywhere – have you had your 5-a-day? drink water, exercise more, good and bad foods, the list is endless.
    They do Healthy Living in PHSE from the age of 4 and that is disturbing. My youngest brought home a sheet in which she had coloured in the good foods and crossed out the bad, and then refused the bananas and icecream for pudding because icecream was a ‘bad food’.!!!
    One of my 6 yr old twins is awaiting an assessment from CAMHS because of her attitudes to food. She is underweight, petite and very bony. Since starting school she has become very difficult around food. Picking at food that would be labelled as ‘bad/unhealthy’… and obsessing about eating fruit and veg. She also never clears her plate (i deliberately put small portions on, so that if they finish they can have more but that its not overwhelming for them). She obsesses about how she looks saying that people only like her because she is skinny and that she doesnt ever want to be fat because then she’d have no friends. She told me that she wishes she wasnt here anymore.
    She cant seem to enjoy foods that she used too.
    Dont get me wrong – we have a healthy diet – we do eat 5 a day (or more), but we also have the right amount of fat intake. My daughters still have full fat milk, and plenty of yoghurts and cheese for calcium. But I also allow them to have things like crisps, sweets, chocolate, cakes etc…. the key is moderation.. and thats where the school failing. Its ok to have one bag of crisps a day, but 3-4 bags is too much and THAT is when its unhealthy. Yes a small chocolate bar is ok, but a big one or 5 little ones isnt… its finding the balance. And eating too much fruit can be just as bad for kids teeth as loads of sweets or a fizzy drink as it has acids and sugars – ok they are natural sugars and acids, as opposed to artificial but, they do the same damage.
    Everywhere we turn we have healthy eating this, exercise that… be like this model, that model….be gorgeous etc…. we live in a messed up world where to be successful, you must be beautiful and thin and if you arent, then you dont stand a chance. Im fighting hard to teach my daughters that this is not the case, but its so hard in todays society.
    And then we ask WHY kids are growing up too fast, WHY kids as young as 6 call themselves fat and girls aged 7 are being admitted to eating disorder clinics? Because we are giving them adult worries and responsibilities when they are kids!
    The food that goes into our children’s mouths come from US – the parents. We purchase the food, we prepare the food and we serve it to our kids…. so if anyone needs educating… its the PARENTS!! Its all good and well telling the kids that chips arent good for you, but its not the child that is doing the food shopping or making the food!
    By all means once they hit secondary school and they have a wider choice with school meals etc… yes, then discuss what is good for the body – including the need for fat – its not all bad!!. But from the ages of 4? no way! Too much too soon!


  3. Emma / June 18th, 2011 21:27

    I think schools SHOULD be teaching children about nutrition – how to have a balanced diet, strive to have their five a day and understand that certain foods are occasional treats. It has to be a sensible approach though. Listing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, policing lunch boxes and making the children do the kind of exercises Aimee talks about at her children’s school just demonises certain food groups and sends out the wrong messages to impressionable young children.


  4. Lisa / July 30th, 2011 22:04

    Ideally it should be the role of the parents, at home, who teach their children about food through cooking. Clearly this is not going to be the case for many children so introducing them to some guiding principles may not be such a bad idea. The problem of course is WHAT do we teach them? Do we even know what is and is not good for us? some say eating meat is bad for you, some say vegetarianism will lead to malnutrition, some say saturated fat is bad some say saturated fat is good. I would be wary of allowing a government led programme to teach my children something as important as nutrition. Government simply do not have the sense or wisdom to tackle such a crucial subject.

    Aimee seems pretty sensible in her response however the definition of balance being 1 packet of crisps a day or one small chocolate bar per day may not be what other parents regard as moderation. Especially when we consider what else is part of that lunch (I am not implicating Aimee here, it is an example) – a white bread sandwich made with processed meat or cheese? a ‘fruit shoot’, some other new-fangled healthful bar?
    The history of government nutritional advice is riddled with inconsistencies, some of which are categorically stupid (the vilification of eggs and full-fat milk for example). Policy makers are notorious for shaking hands with multi-national producers and as such cannot be trusted. They may tells us eggs are bad simply to increase the sales of Kellog’s – for example.

    The simple truth is that nutrition has nothing to do with a fashionable, modern, political culture. Food is the keep-safe of the kitchen, it is old wisdom that is passed down in the only way true wisdom can be – through example. Kids watching THEIR PARENTS cook.

    The whole subject is too contentious. To prevent our society slipping into a level of state control that would send even the most die-hard dictator running for respite is, I think, to leave it up to parents (whether they are competent or not) since at least that way some of us will survive.

    Some basic principles that may serve all children well:
    Only follow health advice from people who look healthy.
    If your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise it – it isn’t food.
    Does it come from a field or a factory?
    It is idiotic to blame a modern disease on old-fashioned foods.


  5. Merrisa Bacchus / November 8th, 2013 4:36

    Yes. Children should be edify about their healthy. Government should have teachers teaching children about balance diet from nursery school or at a lower level of education because children would know to identify junk food from healthy food, and knowing some consequences they can face when not eat the right food and the right amount. It can even be said that when teaching children from early age can help them develop a healthy life style because they would grow up knowing how they should eat, cause it is impossible for teachers to be teaching about healthy diet in Secondary school and expect the children to make a sudden change in they diet……


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