The UK is in the middle of an obesity crisis. This is of particular concern for the children of our country who are exposed to unhealthy environments on a daily basis. Could supplying healthy snacks for schools make a dent in the high percentage of overweight children?

In the 1970s only 1% of children were overweight, but today that percentage has risen to 10%. With the constant advertising of junk food, easy access to takeaways and the convenience of buying unhealthy food, it’s no surprise. Even when school canteens are selling healthy meals, almost half of schools in the country have access to vending machines which sell chocolate, crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks.

Over a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, with this figure often higher in deprived communities. It is vital to tackle the obesity crisis with children as often they grow up to be obese adults. Obesity causes preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Severe obesity can even shorten someone’s life by 10 years, similar to the effects of long-term smoking.

Obesity causes a number of issues for individuals but is a critical issue for the NHS as well. It costs the NHS around £6 billion a year to treat. To help,the government has ambitions to halve the number of obese children by 2030. They have a few ideas of how they can do this including:

  • The sugar tax, introduced in the April this year. It forced companies to either bring the sugar levels down or charge extra for their products.
  • Prohibiting children from buying energy drinks which are notoriously high in sugar.
  • Preventing shops from selling sweets, chocolate and other unhealthy items at the checkout. Particular criticism was thrown towards this issue from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his BBC show Britains Fat Fight. This show named British stationery store WHSmiths who consistently have sweets, chocolate and promotions right next to their checkouts.
  • Stop companies from targeting children in their adverts for unhealthy food and drink.
  • To encourage companies to reduce the sugar and calorie content from their products.

By changing their recipes, brands could have a huge impact in children’s overall health. They have a choice – be the hero by tackling the obesity crisis, or risk being seen as a profiteering dinosaur who is forced to change only through government intervention.

 

But can simply creating a healthy environment and providing healthy snacks for schools offer a solution?

 

As discussed, children are surrounded by temptation at every corner. It’s not always that easy to find a healthy product. Researchers believe this wide availability and promotion of cheap, fattening food is one of the main drivers of childhood obesity. This is hugely disappointing when schools, colleges and universities have access to hundreds of healthy, nutritious and attractive looking snacks.

In May, team Doozy were present at The Cuckoo Fair in Downton where we were on hand to provide samples of our healthy vending products to families attending the fair. Their were some standout favourites including Juicy Fuel Cola (particularly the blueberry flavour!). One mum, who’s child goes to school in Wiltshire, commented, “Our school needs some healthier choices” and her child said he would be more than happy to eat these yummy snacks at school. To see how Doozy can work, have a look at our Barton Peveril Case Study

The National Obesity Forum agrees saying, “For too long our environment has continually steered us towards high fat and sugar options with relentless advertising promotions.” They agree we need changes, like these proposed by the government, to see a significant reduction in the number of children with an unhealthy weight.

Obesity has become so common because fat, salt and sugar-laden food are the norm and people are less physically active. By introducing healthy snacks for schools, we can provide children with better options. Our Doozy menu offers a variety of healthy products. By making healthy food the easier option we open the door for children to lead healthier lifestyles. And healthy children stand a much better chance of becoming healthy adults.

 

Download our Doozy healthy products menu here

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