In response to a recent British Medical Association (BMA) survey, a new piece of research suggests that there is significant room for improvement with regard to childhood nutrition in the UK.
The publication of the Scottish Health Survey for 2014 has underlined just how few children in the nation are consuming the recommended quantities of fruit and vegetables; a handy reminder after the BMA research of just a few weeks ago.
This extensive research of health trends in Scotland found that less than one-in-seven children in Scotland currently consume the recommended five daily portions of fruit and / or vegetables.
The survey regarding free fruit and vegetables was conducted on behalf of the BMA by Ipsos MORI, between 12th and 31st August 2015, with 2,000 parents interviewed online.
And despite the highly publicised five-a-day fruit and vegetable campaign, the study indicates that eating habits have not improved at all.
Since 2003, there has been no increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables being consumed by children in Scotland, with an average of 2.8 portions being maintained during this period. This is obviously little more than half of the recommended quantity.
The news comes in the context of the BMA publishing an online opinion poll of 2,000 parents across the United Kingdom.
This survey indicated that more than three-quarters would support the introduction of a free portion of fruit or vegetables for every primary age schoolchild.
Commenting on the disappointing figures, Dr Andrew Thomson, who sits on the BMA board of science, stated that the trends indicated by the Scottish health survey are rather worrying.
“This latest survey shows that Scotland is still falling some way short when it comes to making sure children are eating enough fruit and vegetables. Despite the growing cost of obesity related conditions to the NHS, there has been no real improvement to the average amount of fruit and vegetables consumed by children in Scotland for over a decade,” Thomson asserted.
Following up from the earlier research from the BMA, Thomson also suggested one possible way of addressing the chasm in fruit and vegetable consumption.
“Introducing an entitlement for all primary school pupils to receive a free portion of fruit or vegetables on every school day would be a real step forward and would help to ensure children in Scotland live healthier lives,” Thomson stated.
Although there are many factors leading to the obesity epidemic in the western world, certainly poor diet is generally considered to be the major contributor.
Despite various efforts to promote healthy eating among young people, there are numerous indicators which suggest that childhood obesity is a ticking timebomb in the UK.
Most recently, University College London researchers looked at data from more than 56,000 people born in Britain between 1946 and 2001, and found that the ages at which children are becoming obese continue to fall.