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Need for improvements to children’s diets after pandemic

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Need for improvements to children’s diets after pa Need for improvements to children’s diets after pandemic

Families will be offered support to improve the diets of their children through a new initiative as the research reveals the number of parents giving unhealthy snacks to their children has increased during the pandemic.

There has been a record rise in obesity among children since the start of the pandemic, with latest data highlighting that one in 4 (27.7%) children of reception school age are overweight or obese; this rises to 4 in 10 (40.9%) in Year 6 (ages 10 to 11). Evidence shows that families purchased food more during lockdowns and this remained above normal levels even once lockdowns ended.

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‘We know that families have felt a lot of pressure throughout the pandemic which has drastically changed habits and routines,’ said Public Health Minister Maggie Throup.

‘The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make.’

A new survey conducted with Netmums showed that nearly 6 in 10 (58%) parents give their children more sugary or fatty snacks than before the pandemic and nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents said they often worry about how healthy their children’s snacks really are. Nearly 90% of parents said they would benefit from an app which would help them make healthier choices for their children.

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‘We are all aware of the increased pressures families have been under throughout the pandemic with children being stuck at home more. With advertising promoting unhealthy foods to kids, it’s not surprising that parents say they’ve often found it hard to resist pestering from their children for more unhealthy snacks, and that is why the NHS Food Scanner App is a great tool to help families make quick and easy healthier swaps,’ said Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at the Department of Health and Social Care.

‘It’s so important that children reduce the amount of sugary, fatty and salty foods they eat to help them stay healthy and reduce the risk of health problems such as diabetes and tooth decay.’

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