HC Deb 26 April 2002 vol 384 c512W
Ms Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children in England he estimates have a poor diet. [45003]

Yvette Cooper

Government surveys show that the majority of children consume diets which contain enough calories, protein, vitamins and minerals to meet their requirements. However, there are concerns about the balance and variety of foods in children's diets.

Around 14 per cent of children's average energy (calorie) intake comes from saturated fat (compared to 11 per cent recommended), around 17 per cent of children's average energy intake comes from added sugars (compared to 10 per cent recommended) and average intakes of salt are up to twice the recommended amount. The percentage of children meeting current dietary recommendations varies by age. However, only around 15 per cent of all children meet the recommendations for added sugars, around 8 per cent meet the recommendations for saturated fat and around 42 per cent meet the recommendations for total fat.

Intakes of fruit and vegetables are particularly low—average intake is only 2 portions per day and one in five 4 to 6 year olds eat no fruit at all in a week. There are also concerns about differences in diet between social groups. For example, children from the lowest social group tend to eat 50 per cent less fruit and vegetables than those from the highest social group.

Further details on food consumption patterns and levels of individual nutrient intakes can be found in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for young people aged 4 to 18 years, which has been placed in the Library.

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