Bolton kids among first in country to use new method of tackling childhood obesity
YOUNGSTERS in Bolton will be the first in the country to take part in a new fun healthy dining experience to tackle childhood obesity.
Kearsley West Primary School is bringing its young people the Food Dudes Dining Experience using cartoon characters to inspire pupils to make healthier choices.
Bolton Council is the first authority to launch the scheme, which encourages children to choose traditional wholesome meals, packed with the most nutrients, for their lunch.
Food Dudes, a social enterprise that runs award-winning programmes to change children’s eating habits, will deliver the scheme using four cartoon role models and rewards, such as certificates, to champion healthy eating.
The organisation has successfully introduced other schemes to change children’s behaviour towards eating fruit and vegetables during breaktimes in schools worldwide.
This new programme goes one step further — as well as encouraging children to eat fruit and vegetables during breaktimes the new dining experience is designed to change the way children choose their food at lunchtime.
Each day there will be a Food Dudes Dish of the Day which is associated with one of the cartoon characters and pupils who choose the dish of the day will earn special Food Dudes privileges and rewards.
It will be launched today (Tuesday) and over the last few weeks, pupils have been getting a taste of it.
Lesley Cooper, headteacher at Kearsley West Primary School, said: “We’re already observing changes in behaviour. Children are increasingly choosing fruit and vegetables and increasing the amount of how much is actually eaten when on their plate.”
Dining experiences based on the scheme will be rolled out to other schools in Bolton in the coming months.
Bolton Council’s cabinet member for community services, Cllr John Byrne, said: “Childhood obesity is an issue both locally and nationally and the latest statistics show that childhood obesity figures for the borough have reduced.
“We are committed to continuing to drive figures down and create a healthier borough for everyone.”
Childhood obesity rates in Bolton dropped for the first time this year.
Figures show 20.7 per cent of year 6 children in the borough are obese, compared to 21.2 per cent the previous year.
But this is still higher than the national average of 19 per cent.
Professor Fergus Lowe, chairman of Food Dudes Health, said: “Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health issues of our time. It is crucial that we help children from an early age to make the right choices and eat less junk food.”
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