Today marks the launch of Food Revolution Day – Jamie Oliver’s campaign for better food education for our children. A timely project you might say as discussions about what to feed the kids move increasingly from our kitchen tables to the political agenda.
The shift from personal bugbear to political rhetoric has intensified as warnings about the UK’s impending childhood obesity epidemic intensify. According to government statistics, already 28% of children aged between 2 and 15 are overweight or obese and it is a statistic that looks set to increase.
Health experts now warn that the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents if nothing changes. According to the World Health Organisation, overweight and obese children are more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Prevention of childhood obesity therefore needs high priority, the UN’s public health arm warns in its global strategy on diet, physical activity and health.
At the same time, government statistics published just last month warn of a North-South life expectancy divide, with men in London outliving their Glaswegian counterparts by 14 years. While there are many factors at play, experts say diet is a major contributing factor. Laying the foundations at an early stage by instilling positive eating habits in children is key to setting them on the right track.
The question is, are politicians doing enough? It’s one thing publishing policy papers on childhood obesity and healthy eating, but practical solutions to the problem remain thin on the ground.
As parents, we are acutely aware of the challenges ahead. But what’s also true is we can’t do it on our own. Thanks to food campaigners across the country, we have standards in school food supposedly to ensure that children don’t get offered junk and can eat “imaginative and nutritious” meals at school. But providing a wholesome lunch for children is only half the battle.
Arming children with the skills they need to make good choices about what they eat is equally important. In that respect, it seems clear that more needs to be done to educate people about the implications of eating choices on their health.
It’s for that reason that MoKL is endorsing Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution campaign, which calls for compulsory practical food education in schools. Sign his petition here or go to the Food Revolution website to find out more about the role you can play in changing the way your kids think about food and the way they eat.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Please add your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Vive la revolution!