Public Health England and Change4Life launch Be Food Smart, a new campaign to address childhood obesity in primary schools

In light of new research showing that children consume half their daily recommended sugar allowance before the school bell rings, Be Food Smart supports teachers when helping parents and children to make healthier food and drinks choices.

Public Health England’s Change4Life has launched Be Food Smart, a new campaign designed to address rising levels of childhood obesity in primary schools.

To help embed healthier eating habits early in life, more than 16,500 Change4Life Be Food Smart packs will be distributed to primary schools this January as part of their School Fruit & Veg Scheme delivery, along with parent packs for each pupil to take home to their parents.

These free, curriculum-linked resource packs will help teachers deliver engaging healthy food lessons built around the English, Maths, Science and PSHE curricula, including assembly, classroom and whole-school teaching ideas.

Schools can also run their own Be Food Smart campaign. Teachers will receive a pupil campaign pack, giving young people the tools to boost understanding about how food choices impact our health and how we can all make healthier choices.

A new Be Food Smart app has also been developed to highlight just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink.

The campaign is launched in light of new research from Public Health England which shows that:

  • Children consume half the daily recommended sugar intake before the morning school bell rings
  • Children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time alone, almost 3 sugar cubes
  • By the end of the day, children consume more than three times the recommended sugar intake.[i]

More than 1 in 5 children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave.[ii]
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist, Public Health England, said:

“Children have far too much sugar, and a lot of it is before their first lesson of the day. It’s crucial for children to have a healthy breakfast, but we know the mornings in a busy household can be fraught.”
Luke Thomas, Year 4 class teacher at The Flying Bull Academy in Portsmouth, said:

“The lesson plans are an excellent introduction to help unearth children’s misconceptions about sugar. They offer teachers the opportunity to engage children in a range of activities that inform them about the issue of sugary food while giving them clear examples of how they can take action. They will be an essential addition to teachers’ lessons dealing with issues such as taking responsibility and making informed choices.”

To find out more about Be Food Smart and the resources available to schools, visit: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools

To download the Be Food Smart app, visit: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools/resources/be-food-smart-app

[i] National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

[ii] National Child Measurement Programme. Available at: http://content.digital.nhs.uk/searchcatalogue?q=national+child+measurement+programme&area=&size=10&sort=Relevance  [Accessed November 2016]

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