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Cooking lessons could return to schools' menus

By Boston Target  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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FRESH calls have been made to reintroduce compulsory cookery lessons into schools in Lincolnshire.

Latest figures reveal one in three children in their last year of primary school are either overweight or obese.

And one county councillor has criticised parents for taking their children to fast food outlets – comparing it to "a form of child abuse."

Almost 24 per cent of children in reception classes in Lincolnshire are overweight or obese, which is above both the East Midlands average of 22.1 per cent and national average 22.6 per cent.

And more than 35 per cent of Year 6 children in the county are overweight or obese. This too is higher than the East Midlands average of 32.4 per cent and national average of 33.4 per cent.

Following a presentation to Lincolnshire county councillors on the issue, Independent member Chris Brewis said: "I think incidents of parents taking their children into fast food outlets should be treated as a form of child abuse.

"We, as a council, need to tell these parents they are killing their children.

"Between 70 and 90 per cent of antisocial behaviour in schools is linked to diet. Another big problem is the use of energy drinks. They go against the body's wish to rest. We need to be more direct with our message."

While there has been a successful two per cent drop in overweight or obese children in reception classes in the county since 2010, there has been a 0.3 per cent rise in overweight or obese children in Year 6.

Christine Talbot, chairman for the health scrutiny committee at Lincolnshire County Council believes domestic science should be reintroduced.

The subject was scrapped during the Thatcher era in favour of food technology, which focuses more on the processes used to create foods such as frozen pizzas, rather than how to cook. Mrs Talbot said: "A lot of money is being expended on this issue and I am not sure the results are representing that.

"Domestic science should be introduced back into schools and the national curriculum.

"We need to teach children from an early age how to cook proper food once again.

"We need to educate the children on nutrition. They need to know about protein, fat content and more.

"Just forcing people to exercise is no good. From the figures it appears children are weighed in reception, then eat loads before getting weighed again. I propose there is a weigh-day in the middle of that."

Across the country, food technology is taught as part of Design and Technology at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

In July, the Secretary of State for Education started work on an action plan to ensure children are offered good food in English schools and are educated about food and nutrition.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We know that a healthy attitude towards food, developed early, is critical to the health, well-being and good educational attainment of young people.

"It is mandatory for primary schools to teach food technology. We are looking at the role food and cooking plays in schools and how this can help get our children eating well."

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