Obesity - Teach children to cook, parents say

Children should be given more opportunities to learn how to cook in a bid to curb the growing number of obese youngsters, a new UK poll suggests.

More than a quarter of parents (28%) believe that giving children more opportunities to learn to make meals from scratch would be most likely to help their children eat more healthily in future.

The new survey, from the Children's Food Trust, also found that 26% of parents think their children would eat better if supermarkets had less price promotions for junk food in favour of discounts on healthier products.

And one in five said their children would eat more healthily if shops did not have sweets and crisps on checkouts or at eye level for children.

The small poll, conducted on 654 UK parents with children under 18, found that 84% were worried about how their child eats.

Meanwhile 18% of parents said tighter rules on advertising of junk food to children on TV, online and at events would be most helpful to get children eating better.

The Government's Childhood Obesity Plan, which was published in the summer, drew criticism because it did not contain new curbs on junk food advertising.

The plan had an emphasis on greater physical activity in schools and a voluntary scheme for the food industry to reformulate popular children's products to reduce sugar.

Also central to the document is the Government's sugar tax on soft drinks.

Jo Nicholas, head of research Children's Food Trust, said: "Parents are the front line of getting every child eating well - which is such a tough task when we're all bombarded by cheap, less healthy processed food at every turn.

"But the things parents are telling us would most help them to help their children, like getting kids cooking and banning junk food advertising in family TV, have been left out of the Government's current plan completely.

"We all agree that every part of society has a part to play in making today's children the healthier adults of the future but it's mums, dads and carers who ultimately have the biggest pressure on them to deliver here. Government described its childhood obesity action plan as the start of a conversation, and parents must be a part of that."


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