Quarter of school children take part in Healthy Eating Week

This year was the most successful to date with 7,400 nurseries, primary and secondary schools across the UK participating

Launched by HRH The Princess Royal and run by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), the initiative was staged to increase children’s knowledge and understanding of healthy eating, cooking, food provenance, and the benefits of physical activity among children of all ages. 

Throughout the week, schools embarked on a series of five themed Healthy Eating Week challenges: Have Breakfast, Have 5 A Day, Drink Plenty, Get Active and Try Something New, all designed to help children learn about important aspects of healthy eating and lifestyle. 

Each year, as part of Healthy Eating Week, the BNF conducts a survey among participating children and teachers. This year, the research revealed that one in four secondary school children say they start the day without breakfast and, over two thirds of children aged five to 16 are not drinking enough.  The Healthy Eating Week challenges were therefore very pertinent and schools undertook a wide range of activities linked to these challenges during which children of all ages learned food preparation skills, planted vegetables, tried new and unusual foods, and much more. 

Pupils at Wansdyke Primary School in Bristol, where Healthy Eating Week was launched, participated in an energetic gymnastics class to achieve their Get Active challenge, while their class-mates tucked into a healthy breakfast at the breakfast club.  

Adam Smith, Head Teacher of Wansdyke Primary School, said: “It was an honour to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to our school, the children thoroughly enjoyed it.  

“Teaching children from a young age about the benefits of healthy eating and living, while making the learning fun and enjoyable, is what makes Healthy Eating Week such a success across the nation.”

Meanwhile, Holy Rosary Primary School in Belfast, Northern Ireland immersed its pupils in an assortment of activities, including Zumba, Gaelic Football and Boxing.  Mr McAllister, Principal at the school said: “It was fantastic to see all of our pupils so enthusiastic about healthy eating and trying both new foods and activities. It is essential to instil good eating and lifestyle habits in children from a young age and our pupils now understand that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a chore and can be fun!” 

At the same time, Charlton Park Academy in London was focused on achieving the Drink Plenty challenge, where each pupil must have at least six to eight drinks each day of the week. The pupils made healthy fruit smoothies and were taught about the importance of keeping hydrated, especially after being active in P.E. 

Roy Ballam, Education Programme Manager at BNF, said: “This is the third year we have staged Healthy Eating Week and we have had more participating schools and children than ever before, proving that a child’s health and wellbeing is rightly at the forefront of all UK schools’ agendas.

All Healthy Eating Week resources and challenges are still available online for schools across the UK to use: https://goo.gl/unmv5I.  

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