World Obesity Day | 

1 in 10 Irish children eat takeaways more than once a week, study shows

The research also found that high-fat salt and sugar foods were also being consumed regularly by Irish children

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Neasa Cumiskey

10pc of Irish children eat fast food takeaways more than once a week, new research has shown.

A survey conducted by Laya Healthcare as part of their health and nutrition-based TV series Laya Super Troopers TV, found that almost one in ten children aged between 9 and 12 consumed fast food regularly.

Additionally, 45pc of parents admitted that they ate more takeaways together as a family since the Covid pandemic.

The research, which was conducted ahead of World Obesity Day, also found that high-fat salt and sugar foods were also being consumed regularly by Irish children, with 6pc of eating chocolate more than once per week and just under half of children (48pc) eating crisps a few times a week.

And over half of parents surveyed believe their child is not educated enough on nutrition while just under a third (32pc) said that they would like to teach their children to cook but don't know where to start.

Four in five children aged 9 to 12 (80pc) can make a sandwich, but only one in three children aged 9 to 12 (33pc) can cook an egg.

Didi de Zwarte, registered dietitian for Laya Super Troopers TV, said: “The Laya research highlights that almost nine in 10 (89pc) parents of children in this age group agreed that teaching your children to cook is a great way to bond with them.

“Unfortunately, this same percentage also shows that children are drinking sugar-sweetened drinks such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices and flavoured waters weekly or more than once a week, and nearly half of these children are drinking them daily!

“We know that parents and children alike want to learn more about nutrition and healthy food habits.

“Many of us find it difficult to pick nutritious foods every day, especially when we live such busy lives and we are looking for more convenient options.

Less healthy options are found all around us, and often they can be an easier option – especially when we know the kids like them. Healthy habits are formed when children are young, and this also applies to our food choices.

“Healthy food needs to be introduced in a way that appeals to children and that can be easily integrated into the family routine,” she added.

According to Sinéad Proos, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Laya healthcare, the research results show how parents and families are in need of support to promote and maintain a healthy family lifestyle.

“We are now post-pandemic and it is an opportune time for parents to take stock of their family’s diet and nutrition habits and see where simple changes can be made,” she said.

“Our research findings highlight the opportunity to start teaching our children during their early formative years about the importance of good nutrition choices, habits they can then carry into their adult years.”

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