Researchers from the University of Granada have discovered that children who eat meals which are prepared and eaten at home, have a reduced risk of childhood obesity. Children who eat meals prepared outside the home are more likely to become overweight or obese. The study has made a connection between the health of a child and who has responsibility for preparing their lunch.
According to an entry in the Nutricion hospitalaria journal, mothers know what the nutritional requirements are of a child, and are able to use that knowledge of nutrition to prepare a healthy diet for their children. Jamie Oliver the celebrity chef, has been campaigning for healthy school meals since 2005. In 2006 national standards were introduced, which all school meals in the UK have had to meet. Each school meal has to provide two portions of fruit and vegetables, with oily fish and good quality meat being featured on the menu on a regular basis. Schools can only serve foods which are deep fried twice a week. However, a number of academy schools are not meeting the national standards as they are not under any obligation to do so. Jamie Oliver expressed his concern of the quality of school dinners in these schools towards the end of 2011.
The researchers studied 718 children from 13 schools, aged nine to 17 years old. The researchers looked at the family, how often the child exercised and the frequency of eating specified foods. The children’s size, weight and Body Mass Index were also measured. The study revealed that children who are more likely to spend time on computer games, watching TV or surfing the net are more likely to suffer childhood obesity or be overweight. The study concluded that a child’s family was instrumental in passing on healthy eating and exercise habits.