This essay analyzes Primary School Children's Knowledge And Awareness Of Food and Nutrition. Whilst there is some evidence to show that primary aged children are aware of the importance of nutrition, there are also barriers to them implementing this in the choices they make whilst at school…
A Nation-wide Public Health Issue: According to Purely Nutrition (n.d.), 27.7% of children under 11 years of age are in the overweight or obese category. On average young people eat less than the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and 20% of young people do not eat any fruit in a typical week. Further 58% of children between 7 and 10 years of age spend less than an hour per day participating in moderately intense activities. This is a nation-wide public health issue and a target has been set to reverse the year-on-year increase in obesity for children under 11 years of age by 2010.
Historical Review: Local authorities have been under a duty to provide school meals since the Provision of Meals Act 1906 which resulted from the rejection of 60% of recruits for the Boer War due to ill health resulting from poor nutrition (Spear, 2007). School meals became mandatory in 1944 during rationing in the Second World War. However, in 1980 the Education Act allowed local authorities to tender provision out. This resulted in a price war with the nutritional value being the first victim (Spear, 2007). Nelson et al (2005) point out that a major incentive was saving money. In 1980 expenditure on school meals were approximately £400 million. By 2005 13% of schools had no kitchen facilities at all, having dismantled them. According to Flintoff (2005), £154m was lopped off the school meals budget since 1994.
Government Action: The issue of poor diet and obesity in young people came to the public’s attention following celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s 2005 television series - Jamie’s School Dinners - indicating that the average spend on school dinners was £0.37 which is a dismal amount given that lunchtime makes an important contribution to the nutrition of primary school children in England. (Flintoff, 2005). ...
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