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Campaign uncovers key tips to tackle child obesity

Experts from the Safefood project have identified six key areas that they believe have the greatest impact on child obesity.

The awareness drive will run for three years, in conjunction with Healthy Ireland and the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE). During the first year of the campaign, the experts spoke to more than 900 parents and held 18 focus groups to gain an insight into their attitudes.

The research has indicated that more than half of parents who had an overweight child believed that their child was an ‘OK’ weight. Dr Marian Faughnan, who is the child nutrition specialist at Safefood, said that although parents recognised the issues, they were not engaged with the project as they didn’t have any solutions which are practical.

The core areas that the researchers believe could lead to an increase in the health of children are: increasing activity; reducing the number of treats; smaller portion sizes; monitoring screen time; getting enough sleep; and fewer sugary drinks.

Portion sizes at meal times was particularly singled out, with one boy of three years old being fed two bowls of cereal, three slices of toast and jam, two small yoghurts, an orange and an apple, all for breakfast.

During the second year of the campaign, the focus will be on treats given in the home and the third year will look at time spent in front of a screen and adequate sleep.

Schools can play a huge role in tackling child obesity by introducing a healthy school tuck shop. Lincolnshire schools already have a scheme in place to serve up healthy snacks.

Posted by Susan
May 26, 2014

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