Innovative ways to encourage children to eat healthily to combat future mental health issues and obesity

Conversation starter: Sarah Agar-Brennan 

Sarah is passionate about the power our diet has in transforming our health. We talked about the importance of instilling healthy eating habits in our children while they are at home with us. Even if they do go out of the window when they first leave home (!) they are more likely to maintain them later in life if they have grown up around healthy food and healthy attitudes towards it. 

We discussed the possibility of packaging a healthy eating campaign with other services that might appeal to parents of school-children, for example stopping smoking. 

Amber mentioned the ‘Grown Up in North Yorkshire’ project, asking children 6 – 18 years about their attitudes to healthy eating. They were shocked to find how many thought the word ‘diet’ related to skipping meals and diet culture, not simply a term for the food that you eat. It raised concerns about the increasingly early age we expose children to a warped idea of what food is for, and how this increases the likelihood of disordered eating. 

32% of 14-15 year olds in another survey had experienced excessive exercising or making themselves sick after eating. All very worrying statistics. 

Could social media influencers help by spreading a positive message? If it works to sell products, why not social messaging? 

Andrew suggested there are three key groups who need to be targeted: parents of young children, the elderly and young people. How do we target each group effectively? 


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