Healthy eating message 'failing' says survey

02/01/2008 - 00:00
Schoolchildren eat too much 'junk' food and too little fruit and vegetables, according to a national newspaper survey.

The Sunday Telegraph survey into the lifestyles of young people aged 10-14 also revealed they exercise too little and drink what it calls 'alarming amounts' of alcohol.
The findings also highlighted children's ignorance of how unhealthy their lives are. While three-quarters of those who responded said they were eating healthily, their details revealed otherwise:
* 62% admitted they did not eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and nearly a fifth (18 per cent) had less than three full portions a day
* 39% did not have breakfast every day, despite nutritionists regarding it as the day's most important meal; a quarter had it four times a week or less
* A fifth of children admitted to going without any lunch at least at once a week.
* 63% had at least one takeaway meal a week with their families
* Almost one in five had two or more takeaways a week
* Nearly one in five children (17%) did no exercise at all, while nearly half (48%) admitted to exercising for less than an hour a day
The Sunday Telegraph says the survey of more than 1,000 children comes despite Government spending of £220m on improving school meals from 2005-2008, £40m on the Healthy Schools programme since 2002 and the £100m programme to increase participation by young people in sport.
Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, was reported as saying the takeaway and fast food statistics were "particularly alarming''.
He said: "It's often correctly stated that fast food, or takeaways are OK as an occasional treat, but the kids having at least one takeaway per week are the same kids who have at least one trip to McDonald's a week, and no breakfast or physical activity, so for these kids, the risk stacks up alarmingly. These are the kids who will become obese, and lose a decade of life.''
A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said: "If almost 40% in the poll aren't eating breakfast every day, that's a lot of children potentially missing out on key nutrients.'';jsessionid=BPW3TDBQIELVVQFIQMFCFF4AVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2007/12/30/ndiet130.xml

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