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Survey suggests children lack knowledge on food

04/06/2013 Joanna
A new survey has found many children hold several misconceptions about food, as well as identifying dietary failings, which staff in teacher jobs may be able to help address.

Over 3,000 schools are currently participating in the Healthy Eating Week organised by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), in which primary and secondary teachers will educate 1.2 million pupils about healthy eating, cooking and where foods come from.

In conjunction with this, the BNF polled more than 27,500 children across the UK to find out what they know about food and about their eating habits.

The study revealed some worryingly mistaken beliefs among its respondents, with 29 per cent of primary school children thinking cheese comes from plants.

A further 18 per cent of primary school children thought fish fingers were made of chicken, while one in ten secondary school pupils assumed tomatoes grow underground.

BNF education programme manager Roy Ballam commented: "Schools throughout the UK require a national framework and guidance for food and nutrition education to support the learning needs of children and young people, especially at a time when levels of childhood obesity are soaring."

The poll also revealed that while 77 per cent of primary school age children and 88 per cent of secondary school pupils know they are supposed to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, only 23 per cent and 19 per cent respectively do so.

Furthermore, 16 per cent of primary school pupils, 19 per cent of 11-14 year olds and a quarter of 14-16 year olds said they do not eat breakfast every day.

While 17 per cent of primary school children and 19 per cent of secondary school children cook at home at least once a week, nine per cent and 11 per cent respectively never do cook at home.

However, 85 per cent of children across all age groups said they enjoy cooking and 84 per cent of those at primary school and 73 per cent of those at secondary school claimed they would like to cook more.

Responding to these findings, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said it was committed to instilling children with a love of food, cooking and healthy eating and highlighted measures in the new national curriculum designed to achieve this.

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801594398-ADNFCR
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