Steven Gerrard and Jamie Oliver call on PM to fight obesity
Published: 6th May 2012 02:05:56
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and England footballer Steven Gerrard are calling on the government to fight obesity through cookery teaching in schools.
They have joined figures in health and education as signatories to letter to the prime minister suggesting changes be made to the national curriculum.
The letter says all pupils aged four to 14 would benefit from food education.
The Department for Education said it was already undertaking a review.
The letter says the "pride" of hosting the Olympic Games has been "tainted by the shameful fact that Britain is the fattest nation in Europe".
Professor David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, who also signed the letter, said: "The 2012 Olympics provide a unique opportunity to improve the nation's health and reduce the burden of obesity.
"However, sitting in front of the television, cheering our elite athletes on, while eating crisps and chocolates, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is entirely counter-productive."
Teaching children through the National Curriculum how to prepare nutritious meals for themselves and their families would be an important step in tackling the rising obesity epidemic, the letter argues.
Without these skills, people are less likely to exercise meaningful control over their diet and food intake, and tend to rely on pre-prepared or takeaway foods, the campaigners add.
The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe, with one in three children overweight or obese by the age of nine”
Oliver has previously campaigned for healthier school dinners while Gerrard is ambassador for the Get Up, Get Moving programme designed to increase awareness of physical activity and healthy eating.
Other signatories to the letter include Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, and Professor Terence Stephenson, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Besides the call for compulsory cookery lessons, they note the need for more sporting role models to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to children.
They write: "As a group of charities and leading professionals in the field of medicine, food, sport, education and cookery, we firmly believe that the impact of obesity on our health is a very serious problem."
Professor Stephenson said: "The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe, with one in three children overweight or obese by the age of nine....
"We need to act now but we will not win this fight alone. Parents, schools, healthcare professionals and the government must take a united approach in order to combat this obesity crisis."
The Department for Education said it was reviewing the National Curriculum and would make a further announcement in the future.
"We know that a healthy attitude towards food, developed early, is critical to the health, well-being and good educational attainment of young people," it said.
"That's why we've asked the School Food Trust to use their expertise and draw up early years nutritional guidance and why maintained schools must abide by the national minimum standards for nutrition."
It added that the Department of Health was committed to tackling obesity and major retailers and food manufacturers had backed the government's Responsibility Deal aimed at helping people to cut their calorie consumption.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Oliver call on PM to fight obesity [Online] (Updated 6th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426788/Steven-Gerrard-and-Jamie-Oliver-call-on-PM-to-fight-obesity [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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