The food we eat directly impacts our health. A healthy diet reduces our risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. A healthy diet in childhood can help protect against these in later life. There is growing evidence that nutrition also impacts on behaviour, concentration and achievement.
In 2017/18, 22.4% Reception-aged children were overweight or obese. This is higher than the South East regional average. This increases to 30.6% of children overweight or obese in Year 6. This means that more children are becoming overweight and obese during primary school. Being overweight or obese as a child can be harmful for both physical and mental health, body image and self-esteem. Obesity in childhood is very likely to continue into adolescence and adulthood, becoming a life-long issue. A whole school approach to health can help promote healthy habits to children and their families.
Discover Hampshire’s NCMP data, explore district, regional and England rates
Learn more about the National Childhood Measurement Programme (NCMP)
Promoting a healthier weight for children, young people and families: consistent messaging resources from Public Health England
Child Weight Management: Short conversations with families Public Health England’s practical advice and tools to support health and care professionals to have conversations about supporting child healthy weight with their families
Promoting a healthier weight for children, young people and families: consistent messaging. A guide from Public Health England’s All Our Health resources. Contains a section specifically for under 5s to help staff raise awareness and motivate children and families to achieve or maintain a healthier weight
Obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in primary schools thematic review into what actions schools are taking to reduce childhood obesity by OFSTED
Standards for School Food in England guidance on the standards for planning and providing food in schools by the Department of Education
The School Food Plan 17 actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food.
Advice and resources
Food support offer:
School fruit and vegetable scheme for school children aged 4 to 6
School milk scheme for children. Free milk for under 5s. Subsidised milk for children aged 5-11 years.
Eatwell Guide How to teach the food groups
Sugar Smart ideas and resources to become a Sugar Smart setting
Public Health England Schoolzone healthy eating ideas
Welcome to the Snackingtons online interactive activities to teach children about healthy eating
Food - a fact of life (FFL) free resources for teaching young people aged 3-16 years about where food comes from, cooking and healthy eating
Countryside Classrooms find resources, places to visit and school support relating to the themes of food, farming and the natural environment
5 a day and Your Family NHS Choices advice on incorporating fruits and veggies every day
Teaching food in primary: the why, what and how by the British Nutrition Foundation
This course covers:
- Module 1: Food in schools;
- Module 2: Food origins;
- Module 3: Healthy eating;
- Module 4: Nutrition;
- Module 5: Applied nutrition;
- Module 6: Food safety;
- Module 7: Cooking;
- Module 8: Teaching.
The course will take approximately 5-7 hours to complete but does not have to be completed all at once. You can complete the course at your own pace – there is no time limit.
If you teach in a primary school in England, or are a trainee teacher, you can register for free access to this course. To register, click here.
Tooth decay is the most common reason that 5 - 9 year olds are admitted to hospital. Public Health England reports an average of three days of school missed and 38% of children with tooth decay experiencing sleepless nights due to pain.
Health matters: child dental health Guidance from Public Health England
NHS Children’s Teeth guidance
Advice and resources
Keeping our Teeth Healthy science lesson resources for KS1 and KS2 from the PHE Schoolzone
Order your Top Tips for Teeth resources from the Public Health England resource centre
A quick guide to a healthy mouth in children factsheet by Public Health England gives a summary of the simple steps that parents, carers and children can take every day to protect and improve their oral health
Dental Hygiene advice from Wessex Healthier Together
Children's Oral Health Advice This short module provides information and advice about children’s oral health. It is aimed at parents, expectant mothers, early years healthcare workers, teachers, nurses, GPs and the public. Delivered by e-Learning for Health.