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New healthy eating guidance issued for early-years education

23/11/2017 Joanna

New guidance has been issued to help providers of early-years education to plan tasty, nutritious and healthy meals for the children in their care.

Jointly developed by the Department for Education, the Department of Health and Public Health England, the new resources include example menus and recipes and have been created with input from nutrition experts, including the British Nutrition Foundation.

Advice will be offered on the healthiest way of providing meals and snacks throughout the day, with parents also able to consult the guidance to help them prepare better-quality meals at home and introduce their children to new foods.

The new advice has been issued in response to concerns that more and more children are starting school already overweight, which can increase their likelihood of developing long-term health issues in later life.

As such, the government has launched a broad-ranging Childhood Obesity Plan to significantly reduce childhood obesity over the next decade, with this new guidance supporting these efforts by helping early-years settings to meet the latest government dietary recommendations.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "This is an important milestone in introducing healthy balanced meals from a young age. With far too many children entering school already overweight or obese, early years settings play an important role in helping children to develop good habits and avoid poor health later in life."

Other key elements of the Childhood Obesity Plan include taxing sugary drinks, helping children to exercise more and cutting sugar and calories in food. Schools have also been encouraged to ensure all children are able to enjoy an hour of physical activity every day.

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