Published on: 11th July 2017
Case Study 69
This study explored the types of interventions and policy recommendations parents themselves would like to see put in place.
Childhood obesity is a major challenge to public health. In Wales the first National Child Measurement Programme, published in 2013, found that 22% of reception class pupils (4–5 year olds) were found to be overweight or obese.
The UK Government has raised concerns about the overconsumption of food high in salt, fat and sugar and the long term negative health consequences for children and health inequality. Attempts to change dietary behaviours have ranged from providing information and healthy lifestyle incentives, to regulatory measures such as: school meal guidelines, improved food labelling and restricted advertising of unhealthy food products aimed at children. However, junk food advertisements continue to be viewed by children during family viewing times.
The current levels of obesity, demonstrates that education on healthy choices does not necessarily guarantee improved dietary habits, and obesity levels remain high. This study explored the main barriers to dietary choices faced by parents with infants, and the types of interventions and policy recommendations parents themselves would like to see put in place, to promote a healthier food environment.
61 interviews with prospective parents and parents of infants (61 mothers and 35 fathers) were conducted. Families were selected according to community deprivation levels and were representative samples from deprived and affluent neighbourhoods.
The recommendations from this study provide health professionals, local and national policy makers, the media and the food industry – with a valuable insight into the various barriers to health eating that parents encounter. The findings can be used to engage with the public, to challenge causes of inequality in dietary consumption, and to tailor information towards those most in need.
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Enquiries to Sarah Toomey, Communications Officer, Farr Institute CIPHER, email@example.com