Tackling childhood obesity in early years provision
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Did you know that 1 in 3 children leaving primary school are already overweight or living with obesity? Children in the most deprived parts of the country are more than twice as likely to be obese as their peers living in the richest areas. As the Department of Health and Social Care recently highlighted, this is sowing the seeds of adult diseases and health inequalities in early childhood.
Working in early years offers an amazing opportunity to support children in developing healthy eating habits for life. Our friends over at Ceeda are conducting research on behalf of our Customer the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). They are gathering the views of nursery and pre-school owners and staff on nutrition in their setting(s) and training that could support them in their work.
June O’Sullivan MBE and CEO of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) says:
“We believe that the best time for children to develop their curiosity and courage to try new, healthy foods is during their early years. At LEYF we have always valued the importance of the food we provide children by ensuring that we have on-site chefs cooking healthy, home-cooked meals from scratch in the majority of our 42 nurseries.
“Early Years childcare and educational settings have an important part to play in making sure all children are getting the healthy, nutritious food they need to grow and learn. Food should not just be the stuff of mealtimes, but part of children’s everyday learning and development through play, supported by a team of knowledgeable, skilled staff, working in partnership with parents.
“When we realised there were no training programmes or qualifications to help a chef understand the dietary needs of young children, LEYF set up its Chef Academy, the first of its kind in the country. We train our chefs to cook tasty balanced meals low in sugar and salt that are tried, tested and loved in our nurseries. Not only that, we also teach them about weaning, allergies, age-specific portion sizes and how to engage and support children and parents in making healthy choices both in and out of the nursery.
In the future, we hope that our Chef Academy can help chefs and parents across the country nurture a love of healthy food in children that will last a lifetime.”
If you own or work in a nursery or pre-school, they would love to hear your views. If not, we would much appreciate your support in sharing this invitation across your early years networks.
LEYF is one of London’s largest and most successful charitable social enterprises, operating 42 award-winning nurseries and providing training and support to the early years sector.
LEYF has commissioned this short survey to shape future training for staff working in nurseries and pre-schools across the country, and to provide inspiration, advice and support to families. We hope you can share your views and experience and help give every child a great start.