North Lanarkshire nurseries lead the way for healthy eating

Ruth Eglington and pupils from Laburnum Family Learning Centre in Viewpark with (l-r) Councillors Paul Kelly and Jim Logue, and  John Cameron and Gordon Thomson of Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership.
Ruth Eglington and pupils from Laburnum Family Learning Centre in Viewpark with (l-r) Councillors Paul Kelly and Jim Logue, and John Cameron and Gordon Thomson of Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership.
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Nursery children in North Lanarkshire lead the way when it comes to healthy eating – consuming one more portion of fruit and veg per day than the Scottish average.

The findings are the result of an 11-year study by Glasgow University’s School of Public Health.

It showed that nursery children in North Lanarkshire ate 3.8 portions per day in comparison with the Scottish national average of just 2.6 portions.

Since 2005 over 10 million pieces of fruit and vegetables have been given to children in North Lanarkshire’s nurseries – through the High Five for Fruit project.

The project is designed to encourage families and young children to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting all our young people to get a healthy start in life and this project is making a positive impact in communities throughout our area.”

High Five for Fruit is managed by Lanarkshire Community Food and Health partnership which operates in over 130 nurseries across North Lanarkshire and provides three pieces of fruit to around 7,200 children between the ages of three and five years each week.

Gordon Thomson, manager of the Food and Health Partnership, said: “It’s not just about giving out pieces of fruit, but about promoting healthy eating among young people and their families, including free cooking and nutritional advice sessions to parents.

“Each week nurseries have the choice of 19 different fruit and vegetables – ranging from apples to cucumbers.”

The project is evaluated annually by students from Glasgow University and every three years the project includes a full evaluation and impact survey to measure its effectiveness.

Other findings from the research have found a 61 per cent increase in the number of children eating fruit and veg in nurseries (52 per cent in 2005 – 84 per cent in 2016); 53 per cent of families said their child had increased their consumption of fruit and veg at home and increase in the range of fruit and vegetables consumed.