West Norfolk school leads fight to cut borough’s high child obesity rate

BRANCASTER SCHOOL HEALTHY EATING PROJECT
Yum,yum!  Noah Fox with his kebab

BRANCASTER SCHOOL HEALTHY EATING PROJECT Yum,yum! Noah Fox with his kebab

A West Norfolk village school is helping to spearhead the fight against childhood obesity rates.

Latest government figures show more than one-in-three of the borough’s 10 and 11 year olds are either overweight or obese – the second highest rate of any district in Norfolk.

And nearly a quarter of the borough’s four and five year olds also fall into that category. Only Yarmouth’s figures in the county are higher.

But youngsters at the Brancaster Primary School are among those being shown the healthier path.

They had a practical lesson in how to enjoy a tasty, healthy treat during a session with staff from the White Horse pub in Brancaster Staithe on Thursday.

And the school is also using a new app, called Be Food Smart, to help get the health message across.

Headteacher Sarah Bocking said: “We use it to help get the information to our parents and children.”

Earlier this year, the government said it aimed to “significantly reduce” child obesity rates in England over the next decade.

It plans measures including a levy on fizzy drinks, reducing the amounts of sugar present in products, supporting efforts by businesses to make products healthier and encouraging children to take part in an hour of physical activity every day.

Latest Department for Health statistics, for the 2015-16 academic year, showed 24.2 per cent of reception pupils in West Norfolk were overweight or obese, while 34.6 per cent of year six children were in those categories.

The assessment was based on assessments of around 3,000 youngsters.

The app has been developed under the Change 4 Life initiative, which is headed by Public Health England.

Barbara Paterson, the organisation’s deputy director for health and wellbeing in East Anglia, said: “The latest child obesity figures for Norfolk and for the East of England as a whole, show just how important it is for families to know what they are putting on their plates.

“That’s why we’ve developed the app to help parents know the content of food and drink and help them choose healthier options for their children.

“It’s great to see this kind of event where kids are getting engaged in fun activities to help them learn more about how they can eat more healthily.

“Hopefully this will equip them with skills and knowledge that will stay with them as they grow up.”