Teach children to grow food and cook it, MPs urge


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The Independent Online

Children should be taught how to grow and cook their own food at school as part of the national curriculum, to encourage them to eat more healthily as adults, MPs will say today.

A cross-party committee of MPs also called for a ban on internet junk food ads aimed at children, to help curb Britain's obesity crisis, which costs the NHS £4.2bn a year.

Joan Walley, the Labour chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee said: "Obesity and diet-related illness is on the rise, fewer young people are being taught how to cook or grow food, and advertisers are targeting kids with junk food ads on the internet."

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, announced a wide-ranging review of the national curriculum in England last year, which some fear could lead to compulsory cookery classes being dropped.

The committee's Sustainable Food report – out today – also recommends forcing councils to ensure communities have access to healthy food and land to grow produce; making hospitals, prisons and schools buy food produced to higher standards; and improving environmental impact labelling.