A survey this week finds that school leaders are concerned about obesity among students and in particular the consumption of high energy drinks.
Of a total of 240 headteachers, 82 per cent said they are worried about obesity levels, while only 42 per cent were confident that they provided healthy and nutritious meals in their school. The survey was carried out by The Key – a support service for school leaders.
Elsewhere, 53 per cent of the leaders said that “some healthy food was available” in their school, while 91 per cent believe that schools must have an “active role in promoting healthy eating”.
Half of the respondents linked healthy eating directly with improved standards of learning.
Ian Thompson, assistant headteacher at Tanfield School in Durham, told researchers: “We are very concerned about the students’ use of cheap, high energy drinks, which is a large part of the issue surrounding obesity.”
Paul Hamilton of Denefield School in Reading, added: “The commercialisation of school catering has created an unhealthy desire to profit from the eating habits of children in school.
“Children, unless led, will eat the most fat-ridden, sugar-coated food they can get their hands on and commercial catering companies know this and are only too willing to supply.”
Fergal Roche from The Key said that the survey findings highlight “a clear sense of frustration that education alone cannot defeat the persuasive forces of the food industry”.