2014 has highlighted numerous concerns over child obesity statistics and sugar content in certain foods. According to research, 1 in 3 children under 15 in the UK is overweight or obese. The situation has arisen due to a lack of education, food available in schools, shopping budgets, and the misleading sugar content in certain foods. Childhood obesity is even considered by the World Health Organisation as ‘one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century’. Due to the severity of short and long term effects that being overweight can have, prevention and intervention is important in ensuring children’s well-being so that they have the right attitudes toward food.
5 a day?
Most recently in the media, discussion has been around foods which contain ‘hidden’ sugars, for example, an average glass of apple juice (which we’d normally recommend to children) can contain as much sugar as 3 Krispy Kreme donuts! It is such products which will have been misleading for families, encouraging purchases with their ‘0% fat’ and ‘1 of your 5 a day’ promises which disguise the negative health effects.
The internet has numerous recommendations for families on how to encourage children to have healthy eating habits; from encouraging the child to grow their own fruit and vegetables, to preparing fruit packed smoothies together. However some children can be a little tougher to convince.
According to recent research there is a more creative solution: to encourage the association between superheroes and healthy foods. Ask children what would Batman eat, what makes Captain America so strong, and what makes Storm so powerful? Children are likely to begin choosing healthier food options as they associate them with their favourite role models and characters.
Good food groups
Food groups can even be superheroes (or villains) themselves to inspire children’s imaginations. The Food Fight is a story of super foods which gain their powers once consumed. It aims to be an entertaining and informative tool for parents, carers, midwives and teachers to use in the promotion of healthy food choices.
As adults it is our responsibility to teach healthy eating habits to prevent early problems with weight and to begin tackling the UK’s current obesity crisis. With the recent discovery of ‘hidden sugars’ in unsuspecting products it proves how important a topic food is and why it should remain an important conversation not just for children but for adults too.
We’d be really interested in hearing what methods you’ve given a go in persuading children to eat a varied diet, or any of your own shocking revelations of ‘hidden sugars’. Leave your comments in the section below or tweet us at @pavpub.