Exercise and healthy eating in schools – is it as simple as ‘energy in = energy out’?

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 Ali OliverAfter last week’s news around the value of exercise versus nutrition for maintaining a healthy weight, our Chief Executive Officer Linda Cregan joins forces with Youth Sports Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver to blog about getting the balance right in school….

Obesity is a worldwide pandemic and as we saw again this week, consistently makes headlines as the biggest threat to children’s long term health. However, it is a common misconception that this is due to people eating more calories. Research in fact suggests that energy intake has declined since the 1970s, with fat content reducing in our food since the 1980s. Yet around a third of children are overweight or obese as they leave primary school. So what’s behind the headlines?

Read their full post on the School Improvement Network.

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Time for lunch month!

How much time did you spend eating lunch today?

Did you wolf down a sandwich at your desk while still reading your emails, or on the run between jobs? Did you eat in the car on the way back from a meeting? Or did you get lucky, and manage at least 30 minutes break away from work?

There’s no doubt that as a nation, we’ve become pretty poor at making sure we make time for lunch – at least during the working day.

We know it’s bad for us – it doesn’t take scientific studies (even though there are many) to tell you that you’re more effective after having even a short break from work, and after having something decent to eat.

It’s exactly the same for children at school. Research shows that when they can eat a decent lunch in a decent environment, they perform better in class in the afternoon. It’s also good for their health: they tell us that having enough time and space to eat during their day at school is actually more important to them than what they eat at lunchtime. So if we can give them that time and space, they’re more likely to try a healthy lunch in the school dining room. Put another way, if pupils don’t think they’ve got enough time to do all the things they need to at lunchtime – eat , relax, let off some steam and socialise – guess what’s the first thing to slip off their priority list?

That’s why we’ve declared November Time for Lunch Month on our blog. We’ll be posting about our tips for schools on how to make sure they’re giving children enough time to get a decent lunch inside them without having to rush, as well as to take part in football club, drama rehearsals, their turn on prefect duty or whatever else they’re into at lunchtime.

We’ll also be sharing our findings from a survey of schools on this issue, and telling you what you can do to support time for lunch at your child’s school.

To kick things off, we’d love to hear what you think in our quick Time for Lunch Month survey.

Jayne’s one of our children’s food advisors. Email Jayne.