Being healthy is ‘cornerstone of learning’ in Welwyn Hatfield Schools

Schools help tackle child obesity

Schools help tackle child obesity - Credit: Archant

Child obesity is a “worrying” problem in Welwyn Hatfield, according to new statistics from the British Heart Foundation.

The statistics show that 28 per cent of children in the borough leave primary school obese or overweight. This means around 330 children overall.

But headteachers say they are doing their best to beat the bulge among pupils.

Debra Massey, headteacher of Howe Dell Primary School in Hatfield, said: “Being healthy is a cornerstone of learning at Howe Dell. We enjoy enriched provision through clubs such as Let’s Get Cooking, to promote healthy eating.

“We also grow our own fruit and veg and have chickens to produce our own eggs.”

Gill Seymour, headteacher of Commonswood Primary School in WGC, said: “The quality of PE teaching is very strong and links to healthy living.

“Children learn warming up and cooling down, and looking after your body and lifelong healthiness. We have a family support worker who works with parents and children to encourage healthy packed lunches.”

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Headteacher Eleanor White, of Peartree Primary School in WGC, said: “We are a Healthy Eating School at Peartree. We teach our pupils about the different food groups and encourage them to take responsibility for their choices.

“Pupils who wish to bring a packed lunch are encouraged to bring a healthy, balanced lunch and discouraged from bringing unhealthy items such as fizzy drinks and crisps.

“We are currently working with the councillors for the Peartree ward to run a cookery club where pupils and parents cook healthy meals together.”

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has called for a ban on all junk food advertising on television shown before the 9pm watershed, as part of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy to help improve children’s health.

Current regulations mean that junk foods are banned from being advertised during children’s programming, however they are still advertised before 9pm.

Mike Hobday, director of policy at the BHF, said: “It’s worrying that so many children in Welwyn Hatfield are obese or overweight. Carrying excess weight into adulthood increases the risk of developing heart disease in later life.

“We mustn’t allow food companies to continue to exploit a failing regulatory system that allows them to bombard TV screens with junk food adverts at the times when the highest numbers of children are watching TV.”