Unlikely team: Steven Gerrard and Jamie Oliver tackle obesity together
England footballer Steven Gerrard and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver are calling for the government to introduce compulsory cookery classes across all UK schools as part of the fight against obesity.
A letter from the two high profile campaigners highlights the ‘shameful fact’ that the 2012 Olympic host is also the fattest nation in Europe.
The chair of the National Obesity Forum Professor David Haslam also signed the letter. He 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.”
Oliver and Gerrard place blame on the education system and call for compulsory cookery classes for all four to 14 year olds in the UK. If healthy eating were to be made part of the national curriculum, children could learn how to prepare their own tasty, well-balanced meals from scratch – vital skills they can take with them into adulthood and eventually teach their own children.
Tackling obesity is as much about prevention as it is about encouraging Britons to lose weight. Teaching children early-on about the detrimental effects of eating fatty junk-food could prevent a whole generation from becoming obese and putting extra strain on a disintegrating NHS.
Along with the call for a curriculum change, the celebrity campaigners have also highlighted the need for more sporting role models to encourage children to get active and participate in sporting activities.
One in three children in the UK are now overweight or obese by the age of nine. This is an extremely troubling statistic and one that our health service cannot sustain. Parents and teachers need to take matters into their own hands and help young children become healthier.
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