Our health blogger Catherine McCurry takes a look at childrens’ diets
THE shocking figures released last week that only four per cent of young people across the North are getting enough fruit and vegetables doesn’t paint a good picture of their health.
An in-depth four year study carried out by the Food Standards Agency show that children here have some of the poorest nutritional habits across the UK.
It show that kids have an unhealthy attitude towards good foods while they enjoy a lot of sugary foods as well as fizzy drinks, chips and fried foods.
It’s worrying to think that children are growing up with a diet consumed by too many treats and fried foods while neither fruit or vegetables is being introduced to their meals or snacks.
It means that kids today are growing up on food that is handy, accessible and quick but lacks protein, fibre and all the goodness that we need everyday.
If this is the lifestyle they grow up with then they will more likely continue with this habit through to adulthood, and it’s a hard habit to kick later in life.
But it’s not only children who are guilty of lacking in their ‘five-a-day’.
Adults and older children are also falling well behind the rest of the UK when it comes to eating the recommended amount.
The detailed information found that 96% of children aged 11-18 did not eat five a day, and neither did 82% of adults aged between 19 and 64, nor 77% of those aged 65 and over.
These are extremely high numbers of people who just don’t eat the right foods and make that decision everyday.
I know it’s difficult to incorporate fruit and vegetables everyday but it’s worth the effort.
The other findings of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveal:
– The amount of fibre consumed was significantly less than the rest of the UK
– A third of adults aged 19 to 64 years in the North had low blood levels of vitamin D, which can lead to conditions like rickets, a higher proportion than in the UK as a whole
– The lowest income group had lower fruit and vegetable consumption than those with the most money. They also had lower intakes of starch and some vitamins and minerals
– Analysis of food consumption and nutrient intake was based on 470 adults and 512 children between 2008 and 2012.
– The consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks and squashes, and chips and fried foods and meat products, with the exception of confectionery, tended to be higher in the lowest income/most deprived groups, and higher in Northern Ireland compared with the rest of the UK.
– Salt intake was higher than the maximum recommended level for young people aged 11 to 18 and adults from 19 to 64 years.
There’s loads of different ways to introduce fruit and vegetables into your diet whether it’s vegetables with lunch and dinner and snacking on fruit and making them into smoothies which is the best and tastiest way.