Eating Not Feeding: Transforming School Meals

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Are the local government election candidates in your area supporting our campaign to transform school meals from a feeding culture to an eating culture?

On Thursday 20th April 2017 Obesity Action Scotland asked local government election candidates to make a commitment to our four recommendations on school meals
1. Use unprocessed or minimally processed foods wherever possible
2. Prioritise vegetables, soup and salad over puddings
3. Reduce free sugar content towards Scottish Dietary Goals
4. Create a positive physical and social environment for school meals

We have sent a copy of our report to each candidate in Scotland and many of them have started to pledge their support to our #eatingnotfeeding campaign. Have the candidates in your local area?

Two thirds of primary school pupils in Scotland eat school meals. School meals provide a unique opportunity to drive the dietary change we need to see in Scotland and act as an exemplar for healthy eating.
Obesity affects one in every four adults and almost one in five children in Scotland. People of normal weight are now in the minority and poor diet is a key driver of this.
Launched on Thursday 20th April, our report found that the school dining experience varies dramatically across Scotland and Obesity Action Scotland is seeking change to ensure no school or child is left behind. All too often children are offered puddings high in sugar and menus regularly offer processed foods. We found that Scottish primary schools serve puddings more often than soup and these puddings have an average of 14g of sugar.

“We are calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals across Scotland to ensure children have a healthy and happy experience with food. We would urge members of the public to ask their candidates if they have pledged to support our campaign” said Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead of Obesity Action Scotland, “Change is possible and we are calling for greater priority and attention to school meals to ensure we offer all our children the best start in life.”

The following representatives are available for telephone interview
• Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland
• Dr Anna Strachan, Policy Officer, Obesity Action Scotland
Please contact Lorraine Tulloch on 07469 238922 or lorraine.tulloch@rcpsg.ac.uk to arrange an interview.

Download the full School Meals Report

Follow us on Twitter: @obesityactionsc

April 24th 2017

Transforming School Meals

Serving School Meals

From a Feeding Culture to an Eating Culture

Today, Obesity Action Scotland is calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals in Scotland from a feeding culture to an eating culture.

We are asking national and local governments to place greater value on school meals and create an eating culture by following our four recommendations for action:

School Meals 4 Actions

Two thirds of primary school pupils in Scotland eat school meals. School meals provide a unique opportunity to drive the dietary change we need to see in Scotland and act as an exemplar for healthy eating.

Obesity affects one in every four adults and almost one in five children in Scotland. People who are normal weight are now in the minority and poor diet is a key driver of this.

Our report, launched today, found that the school dining experience varies dramatically across Scotland and we are seeking change to ensure no school or child is left behind. All too often children are offered puddings high in sugar and menus regularly offer processed foods. We found that Scottish primary schools serve puddings more often that soup and these puddings have an average of 14g of sugar.

“We are calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals across Scotland to ensure children have a healthy and happy experience with food” said Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead of Obesity Action Scotland, “Change is possible and we have highlighted areas where that change is starting to happen, but more action is needed and greater priority and attention needs to be given to this subject to ensure we offer all our children the best start in life.”

Scottish Children’s Diet

SchoolMealsStar

The diet of Scottish children is generally poor, failing to meet dietary goals. School meals provide the opportunity to turn this poor diet around and have a positive influence on the health of children growing up in Scotland. In 2015 school age children ate only 2.7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day compared to the five portions recommended and only 14% of school aged children ate oily fish once a week.

Free sugar intake is highest in children aged 4 to 18 compared to all other age groups. This means school age children are consuming three times the recommended level of free sugars.

The main sources of free sugar for children are cakes, biscuits, cereals, soft drinks, fruit juice, sugar, preserves, confectionery, yogurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts. Our research indicates that items such as cakes, cookies, sweetened yogurts and other desserts in school meals could be significantly contributing to this excess intake of free sugars in children.

Obesity in Scotland and the Need for Action

Living in obesogenic environments where relative inactivity and overconsumption of energy dense foods is too available, affordable and accepted is fuelling the current obesity crisis. Although personal choices are important, obesogenic environments create dangerously high levels of obesity in the population and have a powerful effect on a child’s diet, physical activity levels and obesity.
Last year, 10% of Primary 1 children in Scotland were at risk of obesity. Consequences of childhood obesity are striking. They include stigma and discrimination, mental health problems, musculoskeletal complications, heart disease, stroke and common cancers later in life. All result in worse quality of life.

Preventing obesity in childhood is far preferable to attempting obesity treatment later on, because returning to normal body weight and maintaining this weight loss is more difficult for people who already have obesity.

Find out more about obesity, its causes and effects on this website.

Download the full School Meals Report

Follow us on Twitter: @obesityactionsc

April 20th 2017

Transforming School Meals

Serving School Meals

From a Feeding Culture to an Eating Culture

Today, Obesity Action Scotland is calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals in Scotland from a feeding culture to an eating culture.

We are asking national and local governments to place greater value on school meals and create an eating culture by following our four recommendations for action:

School Meals 4 Actions

Two thirds of primary school pupils in Scotland eat school meals. School meals provide a unique opportunity to drive the dietary change we need to see in Scotland and act as an exemplar for healthy eating.

Obesity affects one in every four adults and almost one in five children in Scotland. People who are normal weight are now in the minority and poor diet is a key driver of this.

Our report, launched today, found that the school dining experience varies dramatically across Scotland and we are seeking change to ensure no school or child is left behind. All too often children are offered puddings high in sugar and menus regularly offer processed foods. We found that Scottish primary schools serve puddings more often that soup and these puddings have an average of 14g of sugar.

“We are calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals across Scotland to ensure children have a healthy and happy experience with food” said Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead of Obesity Action Scotland, “Change is possible and we have highlighted areas where that change is starting to happen, but more action is needed and greater priority and attention needs to be given to this subject to ensure we offer all our children the best start in life.”

Scottish Children’s Diet

SchoolMealsStar

The diet of Scottish children is generally poor, failing to meet dietary goals. School meals provide the opportunity to turn this poor diet around and have a positive influence on the health of children growing up in Scotland. In 2015 school age children ate only 2.7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day compared to the five portions recommended and only 14% of school aged children ate oily fish once a week.

Free sugar intake is highest in children aged 4 to 18 compared to all other age groups. This means school age children are consuming three times the recommended level of free sugars.

The main sources of free sugar for children are cakes, biscuits, cereals, soft drinks, fruit juice, sugar, preserves, confectionery, yogurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts. Our research indicates that items such as cakes, cookies, sweetened yogurts and other desserts in school meals could be significantly contributing to this excess intake of free sugars in children.

Obesity in Scotland and the Need for Action

Living in obesogenic environments where relative inactivity and overconsumption of energy dense foods is too available, affordable and accepted is fuelling the current obesity crisis. Although personal choices are important, obesogenic environments create dangerously high levels of obesity in the population and have a powerful effect on a child’s diet, physical activity levels and obesity.
Last year, 10% of Primary 1 children in Scotland were at risk of obesity. Consequences of childhood obesity are striking. They include stigma and discrimination, mental health problems, musculoskeletal complications, heart disease, stroke and common cancers later in life. All result in worse quality of life.

Preventing obesity in childhood is far preferable to attempting obesity treatment later on, because returning to normal body weight and maintaining this weight loss is more difficult for people who already have obesity.

Find out more about obesity, its causes and effects on this website.

Download the full School Meals Report

Follow us on Twitter: @obesityactionsc

April 20th 2017

Phase Out Price Promotions on Unhealthy Foods

Which Logo

Today Which? publishes data on price promotions in supermarkets, which re-emphasises what we know: the majority of price promotions are on less healthy foods.

Which? also surveyed Scots and found that 53% said that supermarkets should include more healthy choices in promotions to make it easier for people to choose healthier food.
Which? is calling for retailers in Scotland to include more of the healthier options in their price promotions. Obesity Action Scotland supports this call for action but believes that this
has to be through a regulatory framework rather than a voluntary arrangement. 

Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead for Obesity Action Scotland said

“We know that price promotions influence what people buy in the shops and we are delighted to see Which? calling for retailers to take action. We support that call but believe it needs a regulatory framework to be introduced to phase out price promotions on unhealthy foods and create a level playing field for businesses. The House of Commons Select Committee recently heard evidence that price promotions have already been explored through voluntary agreements and no progress had been made due to business competitiveness. The Committee concluded that mandatory measures were needed.”

Lorraine continued

”Earlier this year Food Standards Scotland indicated they would be undertaking work to explore how regulation could be applied in this area. We would call on the Scottish Government to include regulation on price promotions as a key part of the diet and obesity strategy it committed to in its recent manifesto.”

Obesity Action Scotland is calling for a package of measures to create a food environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice. These include:

  • restricting marketing and promotions of unhealthy foods
  • reducing sugar and fat content of foods
  • pricing measures such as a sugar tax
  • improving labelling and portion sizes of foods bought in shops and restaurants

Please contact Lorraine Tulloch, Obesity Action Scotland on 07469 238922 for further information
Obesity Action Scotland is on Twitter at: @obesityactionsc

Original Which? article

4th August 2016

Food Standards Scotland Considers the Scottish Diet

Food Standards Scotland logoWe welcome and support the paper on diet and nutrition that the Food Standards Scotland Board is considering today.
Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead of Obesity Action Scotland said

“The need for action is now urgent and inevitable. A broad alliance of organisations is imploring Scottish Government to take regulatory action on several levels. These organisations include Obesity Action Scotland, other third sector organisations, the Scottish Directors of Public Health, the Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee and the Scottish Government’s own national nutrition advisory organisation, Food Standards Scotland.
This is an urgent issue and whilst we wait for action, avoidable cases of cancer and diabetes are being diagnosed in the Scottish population. We need to see bold and ambitious action now to change the food environment to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”


For more information, please contact Lorraine Tulloch, Obesity Action Scotland on 07469 238922 or lorraine.tulloch@rcpsg.ac.uk 

Obesity Action Scotland is on Twitter at: @obesityactionsc

9th March 2017

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