One of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs called on the food industry and Britain’s political parties to create a ‘Food Manifesto for the Under Fives’ to tackle childhood obesity and malnutrition.
Paul Lindley, the founder and chief executive of the baby-food company Ella’s Kitchen, sets out this vision in a new report; Averting A Recipe For Disaster, Our Children And Their Food created in collaboration with leading experts from across the food and health industries, charity sector and media.
Food skills have been lost in the last generation and the importance of family food education cannot be overstated. Paul Lindley is right in....
Paul wants the long-term plan, with cross-party agreement to address the devastating impact of diet-related disease.
Paul said: “The current cost to the NHS of diet-related disease is estimated to be nearly £6bn annually and the impact of poor nutrition stretches far deeper, with long term impacts on national productivity.
“We cannot offer a ‘silver bullet solution’ - this is a 25-year challenge which requires coordinated action from everyone - across industry and government, retailers, educators, parents and the media. The solution must start with the babies of today - the parents of tomorrow.
In the report, Paul claims that, to date, the solutions to the most pressing problems around nutrition for the under-fives, whilst independently positive, have been too fragmented and on too small a scale to address the enormous challenge of obesity, diet related disease and the increasing incidence of children going hungry across the UK.
Paul added: “If our politicians can work together, rather than with disparate aims, there is an opportunity to save a generation of children from the twin evils of obesity and hunger.”
The Food Manifesto for the Under Fives will be created through collaboration with the food and health industries, charity sector and media, with the aim that the main political parties include it as part of their 2015 manifestos.
The report includes new research from YouGov, which outlines the views of parents and teachers on children’s relationship with food. The report revealed that 87 per cent of parents and 70 per cent of primary school teachers agreed that cooking and food education should be introduced as a compulsory part of the curriculum.
Meanwhile, 45 per cent of teachers do not think government does enough to support schools in encouraging children to eat healthily, and a massive 93 per cent of parents agreed that their knowledge of how to cook influences the extent to which their children eat healthily.
The report builds on insights collected from discussions with some of the UK’s foremost influencers in the food industry, health, charity and media, including: Prue Leith; Professor David Haslam GP, Chairman of the National Obesity Forum; Carmel McConnell, Founder, Magic Breakfast; Adam Leyland, Editor, The Grocer and Rob Rees MBE, Chair, The School Food Trust.
Magic Breakfast Founder, Carmel McConnell, said: “I welcome this important new report, which reinforces our own evidence of rising numbers of children arriving at school too hungry to learn.
“Food skills have been lost in the last generation and the importance of family food education cannot be overstated. Paul Lindley is right in calling for an integrated approach to deal with child hunger and malnutrition as well as obesity, two sides of the same food poverty coin.
“Implementing these recommendations will potentially avert disaster and I call on parents, policy makers and food retailers to read this report and take immediate action”
Averting A Recipe For Disaster highlights successful initiatives already working towards improving nutritional standards in the UK and aims to build on existing programmes such as the Responsibility Deal, to galvanise support from retailers, food manufacturers, restaurateurs, educators and parents.
The report sets out specific ideas as to how these groups could come together, to build on existing programmes, and ideas include; making cooking compulsory on the national curriculum, free breakfast for every child and opening up ‘professional’ kitchens to teach parents and children basic cooking skills.
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