Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.1: Support healthy lifestyles for children through the provision of food and nutrition
Learning outcome: Understand the impact of food and nutrition on children’s health and development.
Assessment criteria: Evaluate national and local initiatives which promote healthy eating.
There have been many national and local initiatives to promote healthy eating in recent years. These include public education campaigns, food labelling requirements, and bans on marketing certain foods to children.
Evaluating the effectiveness of these initiatives is difficult, as many factors influence dietary habits. However, some studies have shown that specific initiatives can lead to positive changes in eating behaviours.
For example, a performance review of the UK’s Change4Life campaign found that it increased knowledge about healthy eating and motivated some people to make changes to their diets. The campaign also positively impacted behaviour change among children and adults.
Similarly, mandatory food labelling requirements have been found to help consumers make healthier choices. Products that contain certain substances (e.g. caffeine, sterols, stannels etc.) must state that they are not recommended for children or pregnant women. More recently, the Health and Care Act restricted the advertising of unhealthy foods on television before the watershed.
The Nursery Milk Scheme is a UK-wide initiative that provides free milk for children under the age of five who attend approved daycare facilities. The scheme was introduced in the 1940s in response to concerns about the health of young children, and it has since been expanded to include all nurseries, pre-schools, and childminders registered with Ofsted. Under the scheme, eligible children receive 189ml of milk each day, which is often supplemented with other nutritional foods such as fruits and vegetables. The scheme has been shown to improve the health of participating children, and it also helps to reduce childhood obesity levels. In addition, the scheme provides a valuable source of nutrition for families on low incomes.
There is still much more work to be done to promote healthy eating habits. But the evidence shows that certain initiatives can be effective in helping people to make healthier choices.