Tricks of the food trade

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Many young people do not know how to shop for healthy food and are easily tricked by food companies' marketing, Jane Davidson, minister for education and lifelong learning, said this week.

Schools need to teach young people how to make healthy choices when they start cooking and shopping as part of a three-pronged attack on child obesity, she told TES Cymru. Ms Davidson is considering changes to the curriculum to ensure it gives young people more information about buying and cooking healthy meals instead of the current emphasis on food technology.

"We need a generation who understands what healthy food is. Too many young people buy something in the supermarket that says low in fat without realising it is high in sugar.

"There is a concern about whether we give young people sufficient information on how to buy and cook healthy food," she said.

Childhood obesity has shot up the political agenda in the past 12 months as health professionals and MPs have warned it represents a public health risk as great as smoking did a generation ago.

About one in five children is overweight, three times more than 20 years ago. Researchers estimate that 8.5 per cent of six-year-olds and 15 per cent of 15-year-olds are obese, and on current trends half will be by 2020.

Ms Davidson's comments were made at the Labour party's annual conference in Brighton where she was promoting Welsh educational reforms.

They come in the week that food manufacturers announced they would stop selling "super-size" chocolate bars.

Ms Davidson said curriculum changes would build on efforts to promote healthy eating through school breakfast clubs, and will form part of wider guidance to ACCAC, the Welsh curriculum, qualifications and assessment authority, expected soon. School dinners should also reinforce the healthy eating message, she said.

Labour conference 16

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today