New research from YouGov’s Parent and Children Omnibus suggests that British children are aware of the need for a considered approach towards nutrition and healthy eating. The majority of the 535 British children asked aged 8 to 15 say that they believe ‘eating healthily’ is important, and nearly all the 535 British parents surveyed agree.

  • 87% of British children aged 8 to 15 say that ‘eating healthily’ is important
  • Almost all British parents surveyed believe it is important for their child/children to eat healthily (97%)
  • Most British children receive nutritional education from their parents with 79% stating that their mum and 52% stating their dad had spoken to them about ‘healthy eating’
  • Children have also received advice from their teacher (69%), other family members (22%), friend (18%) and doctor (13%)

However, while nutritional labelling on food helps educate and address eating habits, just under half of British children have looked at a food label to find out nutritional information about food (43%), and only 34% of British children have looked at the traffic light colour coding system - endorsed by the Food Standards Agency.

Healthy standards in schools have been under the spotlight in recent years. Chef Jamie Oliver’s crusade to improve school dinners resulted in a new set of rules coming into force in schools across the country, and two years on, it seems that many of the healthy standards may remain - 30% of children rated their school dinners as ‘healthy’ and 10% ‘very healthy’.

Parents voiced similar sentiment - 32% ‘healthy’ and 8% ‘very healthy’. However, there is clearly still some work to be done, as 13% of children rated their school meals as ‘unhealthy’ and 5% as ‘very unhealthy’.

Practising what you preach

Though the majority of British children appear to have adopted a healthy attitude towards nutrition, what they actually eat on a day to day basis is a very different matter indeed.

  • 17% of children surveyed admitted to eating crisps every day, while 64% of children surveyed say they eat crisps at least a few times a week
  • Sweets (58%), chocolate (56%) and biscuits (57%) were also stated as being consumed more than once a week
  • Over a quarter of children eat chips at least a few times a week (26%)

However, healthy snacks are not completely forgotten ‒ 3 in 10 (30%) British children eat cereal bars at least a few times a week; over half of British children eat fruit every day (52%) and a significant 84% say they eat fruit more than once a week. Just 8% said they eat fruit only once a week, while just 5% indicated that they eat fruit once every few weeks or less often, suggesting that most children are regularly getting at least one of their five a day.

YouGov’s Children Omnibus interviews 500 children aged 8 to 15 in Great Britain weekly with results in 4 days

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