Healthy lunches, more exercise in primary school to help fight childhood obesity
A combination of a healthy lunch and more exercise at primary school can significantly reduce the percentage of overweight children between the ages of 4 and 18, according to a study by public health institute RIVM. A bonus is that parents, schools and children are all positive about this idea, the RIVM said.
According to the RIVM, making sure kids have a healthy lunch and exercise more at school can reduce the percentage of overweight children from 13.5 percent now to 10.2 percent in 2040. The percentage of obese children could fall from 2.8 percent to 2.3 percent. That is enough of a decrease to largely achieve the goals set in the National Prevention Agreement for 2040.
To have healthy lunches at school, the RIVM suggests implementing a 'make-it-yourself lunch' featuring fruit, vegetables, brown bread, water and milk. Schools can hire a caterer for this or do it themselves. But good coordination is a must, the RIVM said.
More exercise at school can be achieved by creating more moments of movement between lessons. Schools can get help from neighborhood sports coaches and municipalities for additional sports and game activities, the RIVM said.
According to the RIVM's calculations, lunch at school would cost 2.40 euros per child per day, and in combination with additional exercise 4.50 euros per day. Parents are willing to spend 1.75 euros per child per day on this. So this plan will require additional financial support, the RIVM said.