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Tips and advice for secondary school pupils during Healthy Eating Week

Monday, 13 June 2016

Pupils at the Island’s secondary schools are receiving expert advice and tips on their diet from health professionals this week as part of Healthy Eating Week.

The annual event, organised by the British Nutrition Foundation, was set up with the aim of raising awareness of healthy eating, drinking and cooking amongst younger people. 

Launch Of Healthy Eating WeekThe week was formally launched today at Ramsey Grammar School.  Headteacher, Annette Baker, said: “We are delighted to host the first in this series of nutrition events for Healthy Eating Week.  Health and wellbeing are amongst the top priorities for our school, both for students and staff, and we are pleased to be able to promote the importance of good nutrition in this context.”

Members of the Department of Health and Social Care’s School Nursing, Dental and Dietetics teams were on hand in the lunch period to speak with pupils and offer them advice and tips on healthy eating and drinking.

Minister Howard Quayle MHK said: “Supporting people to take greater responsibility for their own health and wellbeing sits at the heart of the Department’s five year strategy. In order to be a success, this message needs to reach the youngest members of our community, when they are still forming habits and learning new skills.  By making our health professionals available to every secondary school pupil on the Island, we’re hoping to educate and influence our young people so they can learn to make sensible and informed choices about their lifestyle.”

The school nurses and dieticians will move between the Island’s five state-run secondary schools throughout the week.  The team approached teachers to tailor a programme to meet specific needs and address concerns on the Island. 

Ann Corkill, Lead Nurse for Self Care, explained: “We felt it was important that we work with schools so that we could help teachers and pupils to address issues they’ve encountered.  One of the concerns teachers highlighted was the consumption of energy drinks, which are high in sugar.  They are banned from school premises but are readily available and children often drink them on the way to and from school.  This is one area we’ll be talking to pupils about – highlighting how much sugar they contain and the long term health implications of a high sugar diet.

“Childhood obesity is increasing throughout the developed world, with an alarming growth in long term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease as well as cancer, which can greatly reduce life expectancy.  Raising awareness about the power we have over our own health is important: we can educate people so they can make better choices about what they eat and drink, whilst highlighting the consequences of the decisions they make.  It has the potential to make a lifelong impact.”

Other feedback suggested a lack of awareness on portion sizes and issues with children visiting local convenience stores with ‘buy one get one free’ deals and the growing trend of large ‘grab bags’ packets of crisps and extra-large or twin chocolate bars.

Image Caption: Tracey Maddrell, Dental Nurse; Rachel Cleator, Dietician; Howard Quayle MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care; Jayne Platt, School Nurse; and Michael Coleman MLC, Member for Primary Care

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