UCL News


'Ban the school lunchbox junk'

15 September 2006

Pupils should be banned from eating unhealthy food at school - even if parents pack their lunchboxes, a health expert believes.

Professor Jane Wardle [UCL Epidemiology & Public Health and UCL Psychology] said tough new rules are needed to halt the increase in childhood obesity and ensure new nutritional guidelines for school meals have an impact on children's health. …

She said her research showed 80 per cent of parents of obese children thought they were a "normal weight" and that they were in a state of denial about their children's weight.

Professor Wardle admited it would be difficult to police pupils' eating habits but a first step would be for schools to advise parents on appropriate food. …

She says the Government should consider placing cigarette-style warning labels on unhealthy foods. "A lot of the media have been against anything that can be labelled as the nanny state," she said. "My own opinion is we need some nanny state controls."

She believes such measures are needed as children are growing up in an environment which is far more conducive to obesity than that of 30 years ago. The cost of food has declined by 10 to 20 per cent, while improved transport and technological aids mean people do far less exercise. …

Jon Slater, 'The Times Educational Supplement'