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Fuelling Young Minds report highlights the need for food education

A new report, Fuelling Young Minds, has been published by school and education catering company Chartwells highlighting the importance of providing food education within schools to equip younger generations with vital information to make informed decisions about food.

Society is facing a well-documented obesity crisis, with data from the National Child Measurement Programme showing more than one in five children (22.3 per cent) aged four to five years and more than one in three (37.8 per cent) aged 10 to 11 years are overweight or obese. Chartwells’ report not only focuses on insight around the need to educate pupils but demonstrates the importance of finding innovative solutions to communicate this information with younger generations.

The report highlights a clear need to educate and empower more young people when it comes to nutrition and food education. Rising to this challenge, Chartwells is launching a new digital ‘Spotlight Session’ which has been designed with teachers, for teachers – providing schools with a comprehensive set of digital resources, including a series of fun, engaging and educational films, aimed at creating memorable learning experiences for pupils, as well as lesson plans, activity sheets and extension activities. Delivered to primary schools as part of its Beyond The Chartwells Kitchen programme, the brand-new digital workshops aim to reach as many pupils across its partner schools as possible, furthering their knowledge in a fun and exciting way.

The content for the report has been generated through quantitative data from both primary and secondary pupils attending state and independent schools across the country, alongside qualitative insight from industry experts, including Tom Kerridge, food charities, and nutritionists. The findings are compiled into three chapters; Nutrition & Health, Cooking & Food and Sustainability.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 82 per cent of pupils expressed interest in eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • 38 per cent of all state school pupils eat their five portions of fruit and veg every day, whereas across all independent schools this jumps up to 68 per cent
  • 64 per cent of state primary school children say they want to help cook meals at home but this falls to 54 per cent at secondary schools
  • Only 25 per cent pupils surveyed trust the information that they find online about nutrition – even fewer (seven per cent) check what they find online with an expert
  • 61 per cent of pupils are concerned about food waste and its impact on the environment.

Charles Brown, Managing Director, Chartwells said: “We know there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure young people are educated and feel empowered to make the right decisions when it comes to nutrition, food choices and sustainability. Schools play a huge role in providing young people with the knowledge they need to make these decisions. This is why at Chartwells we are committed to supporting and collaborating with schools across the UK to create engaging tools and digital content that will help educate their pupils. We’re also continuing to look for ways to reach more children through new and innovative platforms so that we fuel the appetite of future generations with the information they need to live a healthy life.”

Olivia Pratt, Head of Nutrition and Sustainability, Chartwells added: “Just as children are taught how to read and write, we’re passionate about teaching them to eat well – not only for their health but for the planet they’re going to inherit too. By bringing food and nutrition education to life through interactive workshops or experiences, such as those we run through our Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen programme, we can help set children up with the tools and knowledge they need to make positive choices around food, nutrition, wellbeing, and sustainability. We are committed to ensuring young people really love food and become passionate about what they can do to protect their physical health, their mental health, and their planet.”

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About Sarah OBeirne

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