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Majority of schoolchildren buy takeaway for lunch at least once a week, child obesity study finds

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 11/06/2018 By Helena Horton

© Provided by Shutterstock Most children are buying takeaway for their lunch at least once a week, according to a new study from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).

The research found that 60 percent of 11 to 16-year-olds said they bought food such as chips or fried chicken from takeaways at lunchtime or after school at least once a week

Takeaways are too readily available to children, the BNF has warned, pointing to the results of the survey.

The study also found that 48 per cent of primary school students and 39 per cent of secondary school students reported eating three or more snacks a day.

While fruit was the most popular snack among the majority of primary and secondary school students,  this was closely followed by less healthy options, with almost half of children aged 7 – 11 years saying they snack on crisps (46 percent) and chocolate (46 percent). 

© Provided by Shutterstock The survey revealed that many children do not enjoy eating healthily, with 36 percent reporting that they don’t like healthy foods, 20 percent saying that healthy foods are boring and 12 percent not sure what the healthiest foods are.

Roy Ballam, BNF’s Managing Director and Head of Education, said: “While it’s encouraging that children are motivated to eat well, many of the children we surveyed also said they didn’t like the taste of healthy foods or thought they were boring.

"This is where education about nutrition, cooking and food provenance can play a key role in helping children understand and get familiar with the foods that make up a healthy diet. With snacks, sugary drinks and takeaways readily available to many children on their way to and from school we need to do all that we can to educate young people about eating well.

Related: Is Peanut Butter Good For You? (provided by Time)

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“While our survey showed that parents are the first port of call when children are concerned about health it’s also vital that we support teachers to deliver evidence-based and engaging information to children about food and nutrition. Many teachers may actually get little training in nutrition and addressing this is key to ensuring the quality of food education in schools."

Mapped England’s obesity hotspots

Figures released earlier this year  showed that  more than 50 per cent  of children were  overweight or obese  upon leaving primary school in some areas.

Camberwell Green in South London was revealed as the only neighbourhood where more children have a BMI of 25 or above than are healthy, according to Public Health England.

This area of London is full of takeaway shops that children flock to after school, with head teachers warning The Telegraph of the £1 “school kids offer” local chicken shops are using to draw in students after school.

Related: 20 workplace fitness hacks to boost your health (provided by Espresso)

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