United Kingdom

England is one of four countries of the United Kingdom with a population of 53 million. England has high levels of inequality. The average English child’s diet is unhealthy, containing over twice the maximum recommended amount of sugar and only half the recommended minimum amount of fruit and vegetables per day. Childhood obesity levels are high with over 1 in 3 children aged 10 – 11 being overweight or obese. In the most deprived areas, obesity levels are twice as high compared to the least deprived areas. There is also a high prevalence of tooth decay with almost a third of five-year-olds suffering from dental caries.It is the tradition for children to eat lunch at school. Nationally about half the children have a school meal, which tends to be a hot meal. Children from low-income families are eligible for free school meals. Since 2015, all children aged 5 – 7 are entitled to free school meals. In 2007 statutory school food standards were introduced which covers all foods served regularly across the school day.The Healthy Schools Programme and Food for Life Programme, both developed mid-noughties, introduced the concept that also has a responsibility for the child’s health and wellbeing as well as education.Since 2015, cooking skills and nutrition is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools. Children should learn about a healthy and varied diet, understand where food comes from, and learn to cook savoury dishes.