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New guidance to support healthy food and drink provision in childcare settings in Wales

Wednesday June 27th, 2018

The Welsh Government has unveiled new guidance for regulated childcare settings to help them ensure they provide the children they care for with healthy food and drink.Government Opportunities

The new guidance forms part of a range of Welsh Government initiatives that will contribute to preventing obesity in Wales, and help ensure more children can achieve and maintain a healthy weight as they grow and develop.

Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething and Minister for Children, Huw Irranca-Davies are launching a 12 week consultation on new standards and best practice guidance for food and nutrition, such as the provision of meals, snacks and drinks for 1-12 year olds in childcare settings.

Children attending childcare settings from a young age may be receiving up to 90% of their food and nutritional intake, including snacks and drinks, in those settings, if they attend full day care. Encouraging children to eat a balanced diet made up of a variety of nutritious foods can help establish positive eating habits to take into later life and adulthood.

The new standards and guidance includes accompanying menus and recipes for settings. It aims to support settings to meet the childcare regulations for food and drink, but to also help parents in being more aware of what settings offer their children.

The guidance sets out up-to-date, evidence-based food standards and how to implement them in practice so that childcare settings can:

  • Serve a range of tasty, nutritious meals to help develop good eating habits
  • Ensure portion sizes are appropriate for the age of the children
  • Serve snacks that are nutritious, with little or no sugar and salt
  • Provide healthy drinks that are hydrating and protective to teeth i.e milk and water.

The Child Measurement Programme for 2017 shows that around a quarter of children (27.4%) aged 4-5years old are classified as overweight/obese in Wales.
Ministers will launch a consultation on the obesity strategy later this year which will aim to test a range of ideas and proposals with communities across Wales.

Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething said:

“Eating nutritious food is essential for children in their early years. This helps to achieve healthy growth and development, protect teeth from decay and sets the foundations for their future health and wellbeing.

Nutrition guidelines are only one element of this Government’s work to prevent and reduce levels of obesity. Through the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017, we are developing a 10 year strategy to put in place the building blocks that will help us halt and ultimately reduce levels of obesity and increase the proportion of people who are a healthy weight.”

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