Steven Gerrard and Jamie Oliver are among a long list of health professionals, charity leaders and other experts in child health who are calling for cookery lessons to be introduced to schools for all children aged between four and 14 years old. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, they address the pride felt as Britain hosts the 2012 London Olympics and yet having the highest rate of childhood obesity in Europe. A third of children in the UK are either obese or overweight at the age of nine years old.
According to the group, the Olympic Games are an opportunity to tackle the rising obesity levels. Providing children with the skills to prepare and cook nutritious food would allow them to take control of their diet, perhaps encouraging their families to eat healthily. The letter points out to David Cameron that if the level of child obesity is allowed to continue rising, the NHS medical bill could reach £10 billion just to tackle the increased incidence of heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure due to obesity and weight problems suffered as a child.
Professor Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum said:
“The 2012 Olympics provide a unique opportunity to improve the nation’s health and reduce the burden of obesity which leads to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other conditions, and ultimately premature death.”
Charlie Powell, director of the Children’s Food Campaign wanted to know how children could eat healthy food if they didn’t have the necessary skills to cook it. He pointed out that learning the cooking skills at school made sense and should be included in the National Curriculum. A spokesperson for the Department for Education said that the National Curriculum was currently under review.