5th November 2016

Opinion – What DO we do about obesity?

I attended the Childhood Obesity Summit at which the great and the good of the nutrition, medical and behavioural science worlds collided to share their views on what is a global problem.  Obesity is inextricably linked to GDP yet is also associated with societal deprivation.  The UK is ‘the fat man of Europe’ spending more on treating obesity and type 2 diabetes than collectively on policing, the fire service and judiciary, to quote Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer.  With the latest Childhood Obesity Plan from the Government seen as a missed opportunity, particularly in early years settings, what should we be doing to combat obesity?   First things first, if I had a pound for every time I […]
31st August 2016

Back to school lunchbox tips

You’ve braved the shoe shop and the school uniform fittings.  Summer is on its way out and the kids are contemplating lessons again.  For parents of children who take lunchboxes to school, there’s a constant balancing act between what is healthy and what kids will eat.  Read on for tips on creating healthy and delicious lunchboxes all the family can enjoy.   The trick is to offer children lots of variety of foods rather than a variation on the sandwich each day.  Variety not only ensures children get a range of nutrients, it also helps avoid lunchbox boredom.  It needn’t be hard work.  For example, if you’re having pasta one night, make up a bit extra and create a pasta […]
22nd August 2016

What happened to the Childhood Obesity Strategy?

The recently published Government report on Childhood Obesity made for disappointing reading for most health campaigners with criticism being levelled at the reduction of a 50-page document to 10 pages of suggestions and proposals, issued in the parliamentary recess, in the middle of the Olympics, while ministers were away and therefore unable to discuss the content in parliament.   Overall, there were numerous key omissions versus last year’s Public Health England recommendations, notably on supermarket price promotions and marketing but also in the area of early years’ nutrition.  Why is this important?   PHE’s evidence-based report showed that marketing, whether via TV, brand characters, advergames or product placement within the supermarket, can influence children’s food preferences in favour of less […]
28th October 2015

Veg-first: A novel approach to weaning

Traditional weaning practice is to give babies bland or sweet foods for their first tastes.  Using a vegetable first approach is a novel but evidence based way to help babies learn to love vegetables; a habit that lasts potentially for many years.   Babies are born with few taste preferences but they do have a naturally sweet tooth.  Breastmilk is sweet and so this is beneficial for the first months of life, where breastmilk (or infant formula) is the sole source of nutrition.  However, once weaning starts, it’s apparent that sweet foods like fruits are much preferred and greater quantities are eaten compared with vegetables, particularly the more bitter, green varieties.  These tastes, that are typically less sweet or even […]