Are children in the UK fat?

December 20th 2011 Radio 4 news program gave the following statistics on childhood obesity.

  • 1 in 5 children aged 4-5 years is obese.
  • 82% of obese children go on to be obese adults.
  • Obesity reduces life expectancy by 9 years and increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obese children have social and emotional issues and 50% drop out of higher education.
  • Obesity costs the government £30 billion a year.

The professor at Leeds Met wanted the problem to focus on the 1 in 3 person with a weight problem and help them out.

Do people with diabetes need to eat a special diet?

No – People with diabetes should try to maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet. There are no foods that people with diabetes should never eat. And there is no need to cut out all sugar.

But, like everyone, people with diabetes should try to eat only small amounts of foods that are high in sugar or fat, or both. People who have diabetes can eat cakes and biscuits sparingly, as part of a balanced diet. But drinking very large amounts of fruit juice could cause problems with controlling blood sugar for some people with diabetes, because of the fruit sugar (fructose) it contains.

The Food Standards Agency and Diabetes UK (formerly the British Diabetic Association) don’t recommend special diabetic products. Foods that are labelled ‘diabetic’ aren’t necessarily healthier or more suitable for diabetics than other foods. And they tend to be more expensive than other products. Many of the products that are labelled ‘diabetic’ are sweets, chocolates and biscuits.

2 thoughts on “Are children in the UK fat?

  1. I really find it so frustrating , that as a teacher of Food and Nutrition, and a former Lead Practitioner trainer with the Licence to Cook programme , so much effort was put into ensuring that every school in the country offered a good course in cooking, with support skills for good nutritional planning in the diet, to which every child had the entitlement to learn. Teachers were all offered the training to use the programme , with the online facility and mass of tutorials and associated material. Many adapted their own , well organised courses that they had been running for years to include some of the new ways of teaching this programme, where others actually took the programme in its entirity and implemented it into their curriculum. There was a website made available to every child , where they could work through a series of certification awards to give them confidence in planning their own diet. They made fun foods which were healthy and nutritious and started them on the right path in life, eating foods and ingredients that many of them would never have considered previously. In many respects it was opening up the subject to teachers who may not have ever taught food before, and needed confidence and support to do so. This then started the Train to Teach Food initiative, where there was a massive drive to train specialists as there was a huge defecit of people actually qualified to teach the subject. It really seemed as if a huge focus was being put on the very essence of training young people to make a difference in their food choices and their health management, and the funding made it all possible. It was a government priority , and the funding to get the initiatives off the ground was well recieived by most teachers throughout the UK . Once trained in the use of the programme, I always assumed that that teachers and their students would continue to be able to access the resources online – but after a 3 year run from 2008 – 2011 all interactive resources were no longer available for training students, and all ceased to exist. Many of us managed to save what we could and still use the saved resources in our teaching, with the certificate programmes to motivate the students. Such a shame that all that time, effort and money to get the initiative off the ground should have to end by the loss of the main resource. The government and experts now tell us that we have an obese nation and need to focus on the nutrition education of our young people! Many of us dedicated teachers welcomed the opportunity to get back to “real cooking” lessons after all the years of having to teach about designing foods and packaging them and then making them microwavable- but not the basics of what goes in the box ! Licence to Cook offered this and the entitlement ensured all students cooked , even if the lesson was supported by a teaching assistant, as they could draw on the support of the programme.There are many other initiatives out there to encourage children to cook in the early years as well as at secondary school, but sadly many that existed in the last few years have now also gone as there is no longer funding. Isn’t it about time for the government to wise up to the fact that there is a whole plethera of expertise out there in schools , wanting to teach the subject, and desperately doing all they can to put together courses for their students to learn all of these skills, but in many cases, it is funding or education & curriculum restrictions that prevents a fully meaningful experience from taking place . I am one of the very lucky teachers , who, although I am part of a Design and Technology department, my remit is totally to teach food and nutrition and give the students a framework of skills and knowledge on which to build their future lives and health . The focus is on cooking healthy , nutritious meals on a budget and then how to balance their intake of food with their energy output, something they need to know how to do if they are to avoid falling into the category shown in the article above.

  2. Thankyou Suzanne for this comment – a very passionate response to this important issue. Keep going with your good work! Jenny

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