FSA shapes healthy consumers of the future

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Young people, Nutrition, Uk food standards agency

The UK Food Standards Agency has published a framework of core
skills and knowledge to teach children and young people to make
healthy food choices.

The food competencies framework is intended to help schools and community-based organisations lay the foundations for healthy eating, cooking, consumer awareness and food safety. The framework is designed with a broad context, making it of potential interest and use to a rand of individuals and organisations, including young people, parents, teachers, education and health policy makers, dieticians and nutritionists, food industry and retailers and others involved in the development of young people. 'We believe children should be aware of all aspects of food from farm to fork, to knowing how to check labels, and why steaming is better than frying,"​ said Rosemary Hignett head of nutrition at the FSA. "By embedding the competences throughout a range of activities, inside and outside of schools, there will be greater consistency in helping children to choose, cook and eat safe, healthy food.' ​The food framework supports wider government work aimed at improving the health of the nation will contribute towards helping schools develop a 'whole school approach' to diet and health. It is in line with other FSA schemes that it has been working closely with the food industry for, such as increasing the transparency of food contents through labelling, reducing salt and saturated fats, encouraging health eating and making a well-balanced diet easier to achieve. By teaching people at an early age about healthy eating, it is hoping to encourage a generation that is in line with the food trends it is setting into motion. It will be promoted through a UK-wide network of existing practitioners already working with FSA school schemes. The FSA will also be encouraging other relevant organisations to adopt the framework. In 2006, 30 per cent of European children were estimated to be overweight. The prevalence of obesity in the UK has more than doubled in the last 25 years. The Foresight study, released earlier this month, showed that, at the current trend, nearly 60 per cent of the UK population could be obese by 2050. It concluded that this would result in a seven-fold increase in the direct healthcare costs, with the wider costs to society and businesses reaching £45.5bn (€65.3bn). The FSA commissioned the British Nutrition Foundation to develop the food competences for public consultation, and held a workshop in October with stakeholders and education and health departments. It will now review the scheme in 2009.

Related topics: Market Trends, Food labelling

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