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Health and wellbeing

Healthy eating

Children and young people should eat a healthy, balanced diet to maintain good health and help them to feel their best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

According to the NHS Eat Well guide a healthy, balanced diet should include:

Foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar – such as fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate – should be consumed less often and in small amounts.

Read more about understanding calories.

Healthy weight

Very overweight children tend to grow up to be very overweight adults, which can lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Research shows children who achieve a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn, and are more self-confident. They’re also less likely to have low self-esteem and be bullied.

Steps for success:

  1. Get active – All children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health, but it doesn’t need to be all at once. Several short 10-minute or even 5-minute bursts of activity throughout the day can be just as good as an hour-long stretch.
  2. Eat healthy meals – Children, just like adults, should aim to eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day. They’re a great source of fibre and vitamins and minerals.
  3. Less screen time and more sleep – Try to avoid the amount of time spent sitting down or doing inactive hobbies such as watching TV or playing video games. Sleep is important too. Children who sleep for the recommended amount are less likely to be overweight.

Getting help

NHS Change4Life

Providing motivation and support to help people make and sustain changes that will improve their health. Lots of information about how to encourage children to lead a healthy lifestyle.

nhs.uk/change4life

NHS Eat Well guide

General information about eating well from the NHS, including advice about food and diet, recipes and tips and information about digestive health.

nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well

Sugar Smart UK

A campaign run by Jamie Oliver and Sustain. Helps organisations and individuals to reduce the amount of sugar they consume. Lots of useful information about reducing sugar intake.

sugarsmartuk.org

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email mash@devon.gov.uk.

If it’s an emergency call 999


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