Britain is give all school pupils lessons in cooking healthy
meals as part of attempts to tackle an epidemic of obesity in
All senior school pupils aged 11 to 14 will receive practical
cooking lessons and learn about the importance of a balanced
diet, food safety and hygiene, the education department said.
Most secondary schools currently teach a subject known as
"food technology", but much of this is theoretical rather than
practical, according to officials.
The move follows an announcement last week by Education Secretary
Ruth Kelly that junk food and sweets will be banned from school
canteens and vending machines.
A government panel looking into school meals review was expected
to recommend new rules aimed at cutting levels of sugar, fat
and salt in school food.
Britain has the fastest-growing problem of obesity in Europe,
with cases increasing by almost 400 percent in 25 years. Three-quarters
of adults are now either overweight or obese, and the nation's
children are catching up.
A report earlier this year showed that from 1995 to 2002,
the percentage of children who were either overweight or obese
increased to 27.7 percent from 22.7 percent.
As well as poor diets at home, the problem has also been blamed
on junk food eaten by children in schools.
Last year, a popular television programme hosted by celebrity
chef Jamie Oliver illustrated the poor quality, pre-packaged,
fatty foods prepared in many school canteens, prompting a promise
of change from the government.
Education officials are to review the way food technology
is taught in schools to make sure pupils get compulsory practical
classes in healthy cooking.
"As well as providing healthier meals we also need to make
sure that young people understand the links between poor nutritional
habits and obesity," a spokesman for the education department
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