Lincolnshire Talks: Should schools do more to overcome childhood obesity?

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A report from the Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) has suggested that a number of towns in the county have higher rates of childhood obesity than the national average. But are schools in particular doing enough to tackle this?

Rates of childhood obesity in both Boston and East Lindsey are currently significantly higher than the England average.


This means many children in those areas are at risk of future health complications linked with obesity, including diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

Many children in Lincolnshire as a whole do, however, have similar levels of obesity to the England average at both four-five and 10-11-years-old, with rates of childhood obesity in North Kesteven being significantly lower.

Combatting childhood obesity in schools

The School Food Plan was brought in back in 2005 when TV chef Jamie Oliver alerted the nation of how unhealthy school dinners were.

Since then the School Food Plan has been supported by the Secretary of State for Education and aims to lead children into a healthier lifestyle in preparation for the future.


Photo: Petr Kratochvil

Denise Hornsey, Food in Schools Project Officer for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “School food has been transformed from where it was 10 years ago.

“More primary schools across Lincolnshire have their own kitchen facilities and are cooking healthy and tasty school meals.

“More children are enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

“Our food in schools team provide healthy eating workshops, adopting a ‘whole school approach’ to food education, as well as guidance on packed lunches.

“In this way we support schools/academies with the childhood obesity agenda to help children and families make healthy choices”.

Jason O’Rourke, headteacher at Washingborough Academy near Lincoln, said: “Children’s health and well being are a vitally important area that our schools need to incorporate into their everyday curriculum.

“Childhood obesity is a worldwide problem and shortens the life expectations of children and makes them more prone to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

“Here at Washingborough Academy, we have a very strong food education programme, where children use produce that they have grown, in our vegetable beds or heritage orchards to cook healthy meals.”

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