A Spalding primary school is continuing its campaign to promote healthy eating in a week new statistics reveal four to five-year-olds in Lincolnshire have some of the lowest levels of obesity in the country.
The latest newsletter at Spalding Parish Church of England Day School is promoting healthy snacks in packed lunches – and that is just part of an ongoing plan to help pupils become healthier.
Headteacher Glyn Rushton said: “We continue to have National Healthy School status and our latest newsletter is promoting healthy snacks in lunchboxes.
“We are also encouraging parents to take advantage of the universal free school meals, which provides a hot meal on a day-to-day basis.”
Poor Beginnings is published as responsibility for public health services aimed at under-fives, including health visitors and family nurse partnerships, is transferred from central government to local authorities in October.
It confirms that the health and development of children under five is closely linked to the affluence of the area they grow up in, with those living in deprived areas far more likely to suffer poor health.
While the East Midlands has the lowest percentage of young children achieving a good level of development by the end of reception (57.8), the region does have below average rates of early childhood obesity (8.9).
Lincolnshire leads the number of children receiving a good level of development by the end of reception with 67.4 per cent, compared with 61.8 per cent on Rutland and 58.1 per cent in Norfolk.
The percentage of four to five-year-olds in Lincolnshire who are obese is 9.8, compared to 6.9 per cent in Rutland and 8.6 per cent in Norfolk.
However, 23.4 per cent of five-year-olds in Lincolnshire have tooth decay, compared with 39 per cent in Rutland and 25.3 per cent in Norfolk.
Debbie Barnes, director of Children’s Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “While like many other authorities, we know we have work to do in certain areas of our county to tackle child obesity, the figures show a healthy rate of children are receiving a good level of development by the end of reception – one of the higher performing councils.
“Our pre-schools, children’s centres and early years services provide children with a good start in life. Children’s centres, working with all early years and child care settings including schools, set really good examples of healthy eating to support children to develop positive and healthy choices and activity habits.
“As from October 15, local authorities will be responsible for commissioning the healthy child programme which is delivered by a range of professionals including health visitors.
“Advice and support from health visitors is essential to help parents to lay down the foundation of good health for all children.”
l National, regional and local health data available at www.ncb.org.uk/poorbeginnings