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The BBC's Karen Bowerman
"Promoting healthy eating is an uphill battle"
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Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
Parents fear for children's diet
Children eating
Children do not always eat heathily
Nearly half of parents in Britain do not think their children eat a healthy diet, according to research.

This is despite the fact that the majority of parents questioned feel they themselves are responsible for ensuring that their children eat healthily.

The report, carried out for Iceland by research company Mintel, suggests that because many parents themselves admit to having a poor diet, they are unlikely to pass healthy eating messages on to their children.

A large proportion of people do not seem to know why they should be eating certain foods while limiting others, or the connection between current diet and long-term health, the research suggests.

Findings of the survey include:

  • more than half (52%) of parents would like their children to eat more vegetables
  • 44% would like their children to eat more fruit
  • nearly half (46%) think their children should eat less sugary foods
  • over a third (37%) are having problems limiting their children's consumption of crisps and snacks
  • a fifth think their children eat too much fatty and salty foods

Iceland has launched an initiative with the British Dietetic Association to help UK primary schools educate children and their parents about healthy eating.

Schools play a key role

Schools 'should teach cooking skills'
Figures show that parents think schools are key to providing nutritional information and over half of those questioned feel that schools should have some responsibility in providing their children with a healthy diet.

Less than half of parents whose children have school meals are confident that their children are being given a balanced meal and over three quarters of the adults interviewed believe that schools should be doing more to teach children about healthy eating.

Despite the fact the government has issued guidelines advising people to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, only 18% of parents follow these guidelines.

Luci Daniels, vice chairman of the British Dietetic Association, said: "Children should learn the importance of a healthy diet from an early age.

"There should be a partnership between the school, parent and child in the development of good dietary habits.

"It's important to expose children to a wide variety of foods early on and teach them simple cooking skills."

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30 Nov 99 | Health
Children's diet better in 1950s
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