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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Cookery lessons 'to cut obesity'
Cookery class
Jon Owen Jones wants pupils to learn new skills
Schools have been urged to teach children more cookery skills as a way of tackling obesity in children.

MP Jon Owen Jones, a member of the Commons committee which reported on obesity, and S4C chef Dudley Newbury, say children must be able to cook healthy food.

Mr Jones said pupils should leave school confident about simple cooking "rather than just heating something up out of the freezer."

He was meeting Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson on Friday to discuss his proposals.

Freshly made, freshly prepared food is always better for you than reheated, processed foods, and it tastes better as well
Chef Dudley Newbury
The Cardiff Central Labour MP said he was "very worried" about the health problems children could face.

"Schools can help, not only by changing the quality of school meals but also by giving children the skills they need so they can cook good, healthy food," he said.

"Not everybody can be a Jamie Oliver or a Dudley Newbury, but children should leave school confident about their ability to cook simple meals rather than just heating something up out of the freezer."

'Back to basics'

Dudley Newbury said schools needed to get "back to basics".

Jon Owen Jones
Jon Owen Jones and fellow MPs want 'traffic light' food warnings
"More than ever people are interested and excited about food but they need to be taught the skills," he said.

"Home economics has now been merged into a new subject called design and technology, but far too many people leave school not taught even to boil an egg.

"Cooking should have a guaranteed place on the curriculum.

"Freshly made, freshly prepared food is always better for you than reheated, processed foods, and it tastes better as well."

In May the Commons health select committee attacked the UK Government, food industry and advertisers for failing to act to stop rising levels of obesity.

Its report called for measures such as cookery lessons and a voluntary ban by the food industry on TV junk food ads.

It also called for a "traffic light" system in stores to mark out healthy and unhealthy foods, and for annual fat tests for children.

Mr Jones said people needed to be re-educated.

"People are much more inclined to buy prepared food, which isn't always the healthy option.

"I think we should take a stand to try and reverse this - and schools can play into that."


SEE ALSO:
Overweight men wanted for study
07 Jul 04  |  Scotland
Steps to tackle obesity problems
13 Jul 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Bike festival to tackle obesity
03 Jul 04  |  Cornwall


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