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06.04.16

Childhood obesity strategy should encourage healthy eating in first 1,000 days – LGA

The childhood obesity strategy should contain a 1,000 day plan to encourage children to eat healthily from the beginning, councils have said.

The strategy, already delayed, is due to be published in the summer, although the government included a new tax on sugary drinks in the most recent Budget.

The suggestion from the LGA comes following new data from University College London showing that 63% of 21 month olds consume more than the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended daily intake of calories, raising concerns that poor diets for today’s children will lead to future health problems.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGA’s community and wellbeing spokesperson, said: “Obesity can begin at birth, with increasing evidence that what happens during the first 1,000 days of a child's life can have a big impact on how healthy and happy they are as they grow up and into adulthood.

“Councils want to work with government in its forthcoming childhood obesity strategy on developing a 1,000 days plan which places emphasis on encouraging healthy eating habits from an early age.

“Intervention at a young age is vital if we are to avoid the risk of children having major health problems later on in life, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.”

The research also showed that toddlers eat three times the Department of Health (DH) recommended amounts of protein and sodium and half the recommended amount of fibre.

Almost 70% of children did not meet the recommended 6.9 micrograms of iron and average vitamin D intake was 2.3 micrograms per day, falling far short of the 7 micrograms set by the DH.

Hayley Syrad, the lead author of the UCL study, said that high protein consumption in early life is a risk factor for obesity and high sodium intake may lead to blood pressure problems.

(Image c. Gareth Fuller from PA Wire)

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