FRANKLY I’m worried. A new survey reveals that our children don’t really have a clue about healthy eating or the dangers of sugar. And that’s one of the reasons for the shocking rise in child obesity. I was amazed to read many children can’t identify carbs or protein – and a quarter think eating protein-rich foods will help them see in the dark.
More than 2,000 British parents were provided with four collages of food items and invited to ask their children which food groups the items belonged to. All the children correctly identified the sugar food collage and 91 per cent correctly identified the fat food collage. When it came to the carbohydrate food collage, however, just 52 per cent could correctly identify it, while less than a third could identify protein.
Then the children were asked to choose why humans need each of the four food groups, out of a list of suggested answers. A quarter of children believed that humans needed protein to help them see in the dark while one in eight believed sugar was needed to make their hair grow.
Finally, the parents of the children were asked “Do you actively try to teach your child about different nutrients and food groups?” and almost half admitted that they didn’t.
Of these, 63 per cent felt it was “irrelevant or not interesting” to their child, 21 per cent were concerned “it may lead to diet or body image problems” and 16 per cent said they felt they did “not understand nutrition enough” to teach their child.
As a parent these findings worry me. The amount of information on food and nutrition provided at school is minimal in many cases, and if parents aren’t able to fill in the gaps in their children’s knowledge, then we’ll have more and more people who don’t understand what they should eat in order to be healthy.
Healthy eating lessons for children
As a weight loss specialist, I have come across similar lack of knowledge in some of the people I have coached. With no clear guidance on nutrition from either parents or school, people are forced to use the media for advice on healthy eating.
The internet and the media is full of conflicting information about what to eat, some of which is of course heavily subsidised by food manufacturers and other interest groups.
The Slimpod weight loss solution doesn’t provide a diet plan – it resets your brain to instinctively choose and prefer healthy food in the right quantities. This does require a basic understanding of what’s healthy and what’s not and the learning has to come from being educated at school because it can’t be left up to parents.
I believe every child should be taught about food and nutrition so when they leave school they can identify healthy food, understand how much and what kind of things they should be eating, and have some knowledge of how to cook basic healthy dishes.
This last bit applies to boys as much as girls!
- The survey was conducted by the protein supplement company P-Fit. As part of the research into family attitudes towards nutrition in the UK, 2,012 British parents of children aged 5-10 were surveyed.