How parents and schools can promote healthy diets

How parents and schools can promote healthy diets

Today’s children and teenagers are experiencing a rapidly changing world that is having a major impact on their health and wellbeing. Unhealthy foods like sweets, cakes, doughnuts, soft drinks, takeaway burgers, chips and pizza that used to be eaten occasionally are now consumed on a regular basis. Only around half of Australians eat the recommended serves of fruit while less than one in ten eat enough vegetables.

Changed dietary patterns have contributed to an alarming increase in overweight, obesity and chronic disease worldwide. In Australia, one in four children is overweight or obese, and already developing risk factors for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease which have a major impact on personal, social and financial quality of life.

It wasn’t always like this. Our ‘obesogenic’ food environment (see Box 1) has driven consumption and demand for non-nutritious food, and this is an important issue for governments and policy makers to address with regulation of food industry and related environmental influences.

However, schools and parents can take action to influence children’s food choices in a positive way. Parents have their strongest influence in the early years, when children are forming their food tastes and preferences. However their influence is still important throughout the teenager years. Schools can also have a major impact on attitudes and exposure to healthy food, and positively influence children’s food choices. READ MORE…

Published in: Nutridate (2017), vol 28, no 1, pp 9-14, Warringal Publications.

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