fish fingers

Fish fingers - chicken or fish?

Tomatoes grow underground, pasta comes from animals and cheese is from plants were some of the statements made by children in new research from the British Nutrition Foundation.

The Healthy Eating Week survey of 5,000 schoolchildren aged five to 16 found that one in 10 14 to 16-year-olds said that tomatoes grow underground and 13% of eight to 11-year-olds thought that pasta came from an animal.

Almost one-fifth (18%) of five to seven-year-olds said that fish fingers were made of chicken while one in 10 11 to 14-year-olds did not know that carrots and potatoes grow underground.

The survey also revealed that 6% of 14 to 16-year-olds thought that dairy cows produced eggs and one sixth (14%) of five to seven-year-olds said that bacon was the product of cows, sheep or chickens.

Almost a quarter (23%) of five to seven-year-olds said that bananas, roast chicken, broccoli and wholegrain bread belonged in the dairy and dairy alternatives food group, while one sixth (16%) reported that bread, yoghurt, chocolate and salmon belonged in the fruit & vegetables food group.

The children were asked where they got their information on healthy eating. Over half (54%) of 11 to 14-year-olds used the internet and this increased to almost two-thirds (64%) for the 14 to 16 age group. Schools were reported as the second biggest source of information for 14 to 16-year-olds (51%), while almost two-thirds (59%) of 11 to 14-year-olds relied on school.

“We can’t control what children access on the internet and elsewhere, but we can ensure that teachers are equipped with accurate information,” said Roy Ballam, managing director and head of education at the BNF. However, research we conducted last year among primary schoolteachers showed that seven in 10 of participating teachers had not undertaken any professional development in ‘food’ during the past two years.

“With no formal professional support provided to teachers centrally, schools and individual teachers take on the responsibility for interpreting and delivering the curriculum in their own way. This approach means that there is a risk of conflicting or misleading messaging being disseminated through schools across the UK.”