Jamie Oliver wants childhood obesity at the top of the political agenda
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 25 April 2014
TV chef Jamie Oliver is today calling for the appointment of a “political visionary” to solve the obesity crisis engulfing the UK.
He said he wanted at least one of the political parties to come up with “one pioneer, one visionary who’s going to put prevention [of childhood obesity] at the heart of its campaign” for the 2015 election.
“You can’t have one arm of the Government investing money in food education and school lunches and then have another part promoting junk food, en masse, to be licensed and given permission to trade within a stone’s throw of a school,” he said in an interview with the Times Education Supplement published today .
The TV chef, famous for his campaign to improve school dinners during the 2005 election campaign, which led to the adoption of new healthy eating standards in schools, added: “There is not one country on the planet which has smashed it [the obesity crisis] - not one country where obesity levels are coming down.”
He said it needed “50 or 60” decisions and initiatives to happen at once followed by a five-year strategy to improve eating habits.
“Governments will ask ‘what is the one thing we can do?’,” he added. “But if you think [just] one thing, you’re always going to lose: nothing will be achieved.”
Latest figures show almost a third of 10- and 11-year-olds and over a fifth of four- to five-year-olds are either overweight or obese. Mr Oliver was making his comments in advance of Food Revolution Day on 16 May, when he will be broadcasting a cooking class for children across the globe via his own TV channel and those of the TES.
He will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people cooking the same dish on the same day. All those who tune in will be asked to cook a “Rainbow Wrap”, a slaw with little bombs of feta cheese wrapped in flatbread.
Mr Oliver said: “Getting kids cooking from as early as possible helps them to develop an essential life skill which will have a huge impact on their future health and wellbeing.”
The Coalition Government’s most significant contribution to promoting healthier eating has been to announce - as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg did at the Liberal Democrat party conference - that all children would receive a free school meal until the age of eight from September 2015.
The decision came after a review by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, co-founders of the Leon restaurant chain, recommended a partial introduction of free school dinners for everyone.
Their review, ordered by Education Secretary Michael Gove, pointed to the low take-up of school dinners (43 per cent).
Jamie Oliver has clashed with Mr Gove over his decision to exempt free schools and academies from complying with healthy eating standards in the school dinners they serve.
In his interview, he said: “We’ve got another election coming up. Let’s see how many of them [the political parties] start really talking about children’s health and public health.”
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Manny Pacquiao begs Indonesia president to spare life of drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso about to be executed
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...