'Route Map' to combat children's obesity

25th March 2011 at 00:00
Health plan will target local food outlets and aim to educate parents

The Scottish Government has launched an action plan to tackle the problem of obesity in adults and children.

The Obesity Route Map, published last week, brings together Government strategies and long-term targets to change the way children eat at school and at home.

New measures will be considered to restrict children's access to poor- quality food from shops near the school. In particular, the Government will facilitate collaborations between schools and local food outlets to promote healthy options for pupils who buy lunch outside.

The plan is to work with the food industry to provide a wider and healthier variety of popular meals which comply with nutritional standards.

Packed lunches from home will also be targeted, with messages being sent to parents on what to pack in children's lunchboxes.

The action plan stresses the Government's focus on school meals across all age groups, and reiterates its commitment to the provision of free school lunches for more primary pupils. It also provides indicators to check progress.

Along with the focus on energy consumption is an emphasis on energy output, with moves to make children more active.

Sustrans' National Cycle Network will be extended to make safe routes for children who wish to cycle to school, and children will be encouraged to take part in more sporting activities through the CashBack for Communities Programme.

The development of curricular and non-curricular activities is planned to give them the skills to enjoy more active lives.

Inspections should also ensure that nurseries and other childcare facilities provide children with regular opportunities for active play.

julia.belgutay@tes.co.uk.

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