A Healthy and balanced diet in childhood can help to prevent ill health in later life

There is such a broad band of health promotion in my current work-placement. It is hard to decide what areas should be prioritised within health – promoting. One of the main topics, considered a national health concern, would have to be diet in children. Portrush Primary is a town school and the majority of the pupils live in the surroundings of the town of Portrush. In Portrush Primary a ‘health – promoting’ ethos is encouraged by building on good relationships, sharing responsibility and partnership, promoting self-esteem and reducing stress for pupils and staff alike.

Health Education is reinforced within the wider school environment where all aspects of school life are complementary to the positive health messages promoted in the classroom. In Portrush Primary their aim is to: * Achieve an environment, which promotes the health and well being of all staff and pupils. * Provide a coherent health education curriculum, which complies with statutory requirements and is accessible to all pupils. * Ensure that all aspects of school life are complementary to the positive health messages promoted in the classroom. Encourage the active involvement of parents, community and health service agencies and the wide community to advise, support and contribute to the promotion of good health.

The health objectives of Health Education aim to assist teachers to identify and integrate opportunities to develop behaviour, which is conductive to good health. Responsible attitudes and the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions in matters relates to health are the intended outcomes of Health Education in the curriculum. Portrush Primary believe there are two dimensions to Health Education: Attitudes, values clarification and interpersonal skills * Knowledge, understanding and cognitive skills In my work – placement there is an overall co-ordinator who plays a certain role and holds a certain amount of responsibility in this matter.

The co-ordinator for health education must: * Encourage a health promoting school * Ensure the adequate coverage of health education within the curriculum * Communicate with staff involved in promoting health education * Identify and follow up where staff development is necessary * Promote active learning styles and teaching strategies Promote and new health messages * Monitor and review the policy, its implementation and evaluation on a regular basis. Portrush Primary try to encourage parents to promote good health to their children.

For example, by only allowing sweets at the weekend or as a reward, children may co-operate and behave better in school. A variety of active learning strategies are encouraged to ensure there is effective learning and pupils are given opportunities to explore attitudes, clarify values and develop interpersonal skills which enable them to make informed and responsible decisions about their health and well being.

Whole school issues are implemented throughout the school. Health Education is taught through different subject areas and this is monitored and reviewed yearly by class teachers depending on the needs, gender and maturity of pupils. Strong health links are established and encouraged. I feel that everyone can make a difference in young people’s lives by helping them learn how to adapt to healthy eating habits. We should all set a good example to children by eating a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables.

I think if in the canteen they provided colourful posters showing the nutritional content of the food being served children might realise that healthy eating is in fact a positive thing. A healthy balanced of foods provides energy and nourishment everyone needs to survive and to enjoy life. Eating too little food soon leads to illness, but eating too much or the wrong balance of foods can lead to problems in the long term. It’s important to get the balance right – both in the amount and in the type of foods eaten. A healthy and balanced diet in childhood can reduce the risk of anaemia and dental decay.

In the long term, it can help to prevent ill health later in life. For example, it can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke and some cancers. Obesity in the UK is increasing. It can result from a combination of eating too many calories and not doing enough physical activity. It’s not simply a result of personal weakness, but at the same time you can do something about avoiding putting on too much weight. We live in a society where it’s easier than ever to lead a sedentary lifestyle and to eat more calories than we use up. Child obesity report, looks at overweight kids

The number of overweight children in the UK has reached record proportions according to a study undertaken by researchers from Leeds Community and Mental Health Trust. Of the 694 children studied, one in three girls aged 11 was overweight and more than one in eight was obese. Twenty per cent of boys of the same age were overweight and 20 per cent obese. Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles were blamed. May 2001 In May 1998 The Healthy Schools Programme was set up, as a joint initiative between the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills.

It consists of a series of programmes developed from proposals in the Excellence in Schools and Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation White Papers. It aims: * To make children, teachers, parents, governors and the wider community more aware of the opportunities that exist in schools for improving health. * To support personal, social and health education in schools and address issues of emotional health and well – being. The initiative consists of a package of proposals to improve the health of children in schools. Below is just one of the pilot projects: ‘Cooking for Kids’

Cooking for Kids is a pilot project to promote healthy eating. It involves partnerships between the Department of Health, the Royal Society of Arts (Focus on Foods Campaign), the Food Foundation and the National Association of Teachers of Home Economics. The aims of the project are to extend the role of schools in teaching young people practical ways of keeping healthy through cooking and enjoying food, which build on the requirements of the National Curriculum. Provide young people with exciting and enjoyable learning experiences covering food preparation, cooking, food safety, and hygiene, and nutrition.

Develop social skills and self-esteem. Foster creativity and support for other subjects. As stated in the ‘White Lives OHN Paper of 1997’ children need help and we are the people to help them. ‘We believe that the country is united in an ambition for better health. The ambition to bring up children so that they grow up healthy is one that unites us all. The ambition of a long and healthy life for ourselves unites us all. ‘ It’s no secret that many of the populations children are overweight, poorly nourished, and participate in far too little physical activity.

Indeed, obesity among children is at epidemic levels and often leads to serious health problems. If this trend continues, students, communities and our nation will suffer. One out of every four children in the United States is considered overweight. Being overweight has doubled for youth and tripled in teens in the last two decades. Twenty-two percent of children ages 5-10 years have one or more risk factors for heart disease or diabetes. But sixty percent of overweight children ages 5-10 years have one or more risk factors. Pupils who don’t get enough exercise and have proper nutrition simply don’t perform as well academically.

Children ages 6-11 years from food-insufficient families have significantly lower arithmetic scores. Eating breakfast leads to higher composite mathematics and reading scores, reduces absenteeism and improves behavior, and increases students’ ability to succeed in school. If communities came together to provide the resources, time, staff, and funding for schools, I think a lot more would be done. Pupils need to understand that how they eat and whether they are physically active have an impact on their academic success and their future health.

I think more after school activities would take children away from the T. V and the kitchen cupboards! Even during the activity having a break and offering nutritious foods would make the afternoon more pleasurable for the child. I feel that parents should ensure that their children have a nutritious breakfast before going to school. We need to offer children healthy food options and urge them, especially at a young age, to take family walks or hikes, attend exercise programs, and participate in community sports activities.

I have noticed that Portrush Primary has a good health-promoting canteen. They offer a wide variety of nutritious foods and encourage children to make healthy choices. This means choosing foods low in fat, salt and sugar and high in dietary fibre. The canteen plays a major role in nutrition education. The children learn about food and nutrition from many sources, including their parents or caregivers and the school. The canteen is part of the school environment, and they support classroom nutrition education programs. Throughout the school, messages about food complement each other.

For example, the principles taught in the classroom are the kinds of foods available in the canteen. If this was not the case and children learnt about good nutrition in the classroom, and the canteen did not sell and promote healthy food, then the messages they receive are confusing. On the other hand, in this school where canteen and classroom activities go hand in hand shows pupils that it is committed to promoting good health through good nutrition. The canteen on my work – placement sells different drinks but all are non-fizzy.

For example, fruit juice, apple juice, flavoured water and milk are all available at a suitable price. Tap water is an alternative drink, which is free. The menu is varied. It consists of sausage rolls, creamed potatoes, chicken curry, stew, chicken pie, sweet and sour pork etc. The school meals change daily. Chips are only available to the children, 3 days a week. During my block week I stayed in the canteen to see whether a large number of the children ate chips but this was not the case. I was extremely surprised to see out of 40 children only 4 had chips on a particular day.

The following day the number increased but, still, I was surprised as only 9 out of 47 pupils had chips. I will include a sample of the lunchtime menu at the back of my assignment. All together I was extremely impressed with the menu. The tuck shop has been closed in Portrush Primary since when I attended. I was quite shocked at this but I was informed children were starting to buy not one bag of crisps but three. Now in Portrush Primary there is a Fruit Shop, which provides the children with apples, bananas, pears, yogurts, sandwiches etc.

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