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Childhood Diet

PUBLISHED: 09:31 25 November 2011 | UPDATED: 22:02 21 February 2013

Childhood Diet

Childhood Diet

The real five-a-day? UK kids feast on chocolate, energy drinks and crisps

The real five-a-day? UK kids feast on chocolate, energy drinks and crisps

A unique survey into secondary school childrens views on their own diet has revealed interesting findings that suggest why a third are overweight and obese (33%) - with daily indulgence on fizzy drinks, (reported by 40% of 11-16 year olds) being one of several key concerns(1)(2). One in ten children admitted they have already eaten sweets, pastries, chocolate or crisps before school has even started.

Despite 29% indulging on sugary snacks three or more times every day and being more likely to have crisps at lunch (34%) than fruit (31%), it is particularly concerning that the majority of children felt the responsibility of eating healthier mainly lies with their parents. However one third did feel the onus was on themselves.

The survey of 2,000 11- to 16-year-olds has been released today by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and helps to give a unique insight into their daily diet. Based on the results, the charity calculates a childs typical daily diet includes one packet of crisps, one chocolate bar, one fizzy drink and one energy drink. That means kids are consuming 22 teaspoons of sugar (90g), more fat than a cheeseburger, and almost a third of their daily calorie intake from snacks alone (3).

Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the BHF said: Five-a-day seems to have a whole new meaning for some young people. They are consuming an alarming amount of fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate and crisps as a regular part of their daily diet.

Its already been suggested that this generation of children may not live longer than their parents due to the implications of their lifestyle on levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Weve all got to realise that this generations food choices today could have long term consequences on their future health.

To launch the Food4Thought campaign the BHF is placing healthy vending machines in thirty schools across the UK. The pilot project aims to encourage school pupils to eat healthier snacks during the school day. The pupils will play a key role in deciding the products sold in vending machines, with the healthiest school winning a prize at the end of the school year.

In this video, Akai Osei, the 12-year-old street dancer from Kent who won Sky Ones Got To Dance last year, shows his support for this years Food4Thought 6 campaign by performing a surprise routine in the middle of an unsuspecting school canteen.

The BHF has a range of information available to help children lead a healthier lifestyle. Visit bhf.org.uk/junkfood for more information.

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