PESTERED PARENTS’ CRY FOR HELP OVER HEALTHY EATING
Parents say they want more help to give their children a healthy diet - with a watershed for junk food advertising on TV and healthier children’s menus in restaurants among ideas to win their backing in a new poll.
The ComRes survey of more than 1,000 parents for the Children’s Food Trust, on issues which can make it more difficult to feed children well, found that 65 per cent would back the idea of a ban on advertising of foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm*.
The poll results, which will be discussed by panelists at the Children’s Food Conference in London today, also show that:
• 69 per cent of parents agree that they could do more to make their child’s diet healthier
• 72 per cent of parents have bought things like chocolate, sweets, crisps and sugary drinks or cereals in the last month when they didn’t intend to, after being pestered by their child
• 87 per cent would like to see healthier children’s menus in restaurants and 83 per cent would like smaller portions of the adult menu offered too
• 79 per cent say that there should be minimum nutritional requirements for the food offered by any organisation that may be looking after children
Children's Food Trust Chairman, Rob Rees, said: "Parents have such a tough job to encourage their children to eat healthily - and what's clear is that they think there are lots of ways we could make their lives easier.
"This isn't about a 'nanny state' - it's about what will help rather than hinder parents in feeding their children well.
"If we're serious about reducing the crippling costs to the NHS of poor diet, we need to get behind parents on this."
Broadcaster Nick Coffer, author of ‘My Daddy Cooks’ and a blog about healthy cooking with his young son, will join the panel at today’s Children’s Food Conference. He said: “This is about giving parents the confidence to make the small changes which can make a very big difference to what and how their kids eat.
“I'm particularly encouraged that so many parents would prefer to see kids served smaller portions of adult food in restaurants rather than ‘children’s’ food. If we make it easier for kids to eat well by creating more positive and thought-through environments around food, this will go a long way towards helping parents help their kids to eat a more balanced diet.”
Sir Michael Marmot and Dame Clare Tickell head the line-up of prestigious speakers at the Children’s Food Conference, which has been launched by the Children’s Food Trust and the School Food Trust to look at why better food for children is at the heart of improving public health.
As the chairs of ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ and ‘The Early Years: Foundations for life, health and learning’ respectively, they will top the bill of speakers at the event at the CBI Conference Centre. The agenda focuses on early years, food and health inequalities for children and the role of parents in helping children to eat well.
Children’s Minister Sarah Teather and Professor Richard Parrish, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health join them, along with representatives for childcare providers, local authority children’s services, medical experts and food manufacturers.
The Children’s Food Conference is sponsored by Cool Milk, and the behaviour change workshop session by Danone UK.
ComRes interviewed 1,015 parents with at least one child aged between 3 and 15 online between 16th and 21st February 2012. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.