I am writing to you as a constituent to ask you to support a campaign focused on improving early years nutrition.
I am sure you will agree that every child in the UK deserves to have the best start in life. However, too many of our children aren’t getting the nutrition they need to grow up happy + healthy. In fact, only 18% of children aged 5-15 eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, with a shocking 29% of children aged 5-10 eating less than one portion a day. Diet-related illnesses are also at an all-time high, with 1 in 4 children being diagnosed as living with overweight or obesity by the time they enter primary school. Sadly the cost-of-living crisis combined with the effects of the pandemic mean that these figures are only expected to get worse.
These worrying statistics highlight that it is already too late to intervene when a child reaches primary school. It is clear that we have to start educating our children early, during the most important period in their development, when experts agree that lifelong habits and behaviours are formed.
That’s why I’m asking you to support Ella’s Kitchen’s Eat.Play.Love campaign which is aiming to help children grow up eating more fruit and vegetables, by introducing sensory food play in all early years settings.
Sensory food play is an educational tool that encourages children to explore fruit and vegetables in a way that stimulates their senses. This is not about getting messy and wasting food, this is impactful, purposeful, and evidence-based education that could have long-lasting benefits for the health of our nation’s children.
The evidence shows that this type of education breaks down barriers children face when it comes to trying fruit or vegetables – increasing their curiosity about, and willingness to try, new ones. Studies also show that it is particularly beneficial for children from less affluent backgrounds, who may have less access or exposure to a wide variety of fruit and vegetables at home.
The intervention is evidence backed, low-cost, and simple to implement, with potentially life-changing benefits for the children involved. We can’t solve the cost-of-living crisis, but we can make sure that every child is given the education they need to grow up healthy and happy.
As my local MP, I would be grateful if you would consider supporting the campaign by carrying out any of the following:
- Reading the Ella’s Kitchen policy paper that explains the evidence behind sensory food play and the change we want to see
- Writing to the Children’s Minister to ask them to introduce sensory food play as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage
- Raising the issue in the House
- Tweeting your support @ellaskitchenuk using #EatPlayLove
It’s time to get serious about playing with food!