Paradoxically, however, the survey revealed that the average intake of food energy was about 10 per cent below the allowance for energy recommended as recently as 1979 (DHSS). This value has been modestly revised in the current report of the DHSS Panel on Dietary Reference Values.
Whether a child gains or loses weight depends on the balance between food energy intake and energy expenditure. Regrettably, attention is invariably focused on the first component of the equation and even diet quality is invoked as the cause of overweight, when it is obvious to any parent that the level of energy expenditure of the children of the Nineties is abysmally low.
Overweight in British schoolchildren has a great deal more to do with the invention of video games and the video cassette recorder than with the peculiarities of children's food choice.
DONALD J. NAISMITH
Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics
King's College London
24 SeptemberReuse content